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AirAsia extends its in-flight fleet as flying in Malaysia resumes

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AirAsia is reactivating major areas of its fleet as local demand rises, thanks to Malaysia's easing of internal travel restrictions.

With the relaxation of travel restrictions on Peninsular Malaysia on 10 October, Bo Lingam, who was named group chief executive of AirAsia Aviation on 14 October, predicts a surge in tourism.
However, there are still some travel restrictions in place for the Borneo state of Sabah, which should be lifted by November 1.


Malaysia's achievement of 90 percent vaccination rates was crucial to the opening.
Since the coronavirus epidemic spread from Wuhan, China in early 2020, Malaysia has been essentially sealed off from the rest of the world, with a so-called Movement Control Order severely restricting internal movement.

"We only had six or seven flights during the Covid era since the government only allowed people with legitimate police permissions to go," Lingam explains.
"We've managed to bring out six planes since they formed the Langkawi bubble, and we now have 9-10 [daily] flights to Langkawi."


AirAsia will have 29 Airbus A320 family and A320neo family aircraft in service by the end of the month, increasing to 37 by the end of November and 57 by the end of November.

He sees the prospect of limited regional flights to Thailand's Phuket and Krabi, as well as Male in the Maldives and Colombo in Sri Lanka, expanding beyond Malaysia.
Bali is another option, however quarantine rules will put a damper on its recovery chances.


Even with 57 planes in operation, Malaysia will still have roughly 42 planes in storage.
Some of the jets that have been stored will be returned to their lessors.

Lingam anticipates the remaining stored aircraft returning to service once international borders reopen to flights.
The airline is continuing to recall cabin personnel and pilots for the time being.

Although regional governments are discussing how to open up, Lingam says there are still concerns about the prospect of a new Covid-19 strain arising.


On Peninsular Malaysian aircraft, passengers must be completely vaccinated, although there are no testing requirements.
Popular destinations, according to Lingam, at this early period of recuperation include Kota Bahru, Penang, and Langkawi.

Passengers can use the AirAsia ‘Super App' to load their immunisation status, providing for a seamless, contact-free check-in process.

According to Lingam, AirAsia has flown 1.7 million passengers from January to September.
He predicts that if travel restrictions are lifted, the carrier will carry six million passengers in the final three months of 2021.

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