AirAsia chief welcomes vaccine rollout

SEPANG, Malaysia, 24 February 2021: AirAsia Group welcomes news of Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out across Malaysia this week, describing it as the first key indicator of an approaching global travel reboot.

AirAsia’s key international markets are also progressing well with the vaccination programme, including Indonesia, Singapore, China and Australia.

Although the government said on Monday, 2 million doses from China would arrive by Wednesday, Thailand still lags behind its neighbours. 

Another slow starter, the Philippines, has just granted Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac emergency use authorisation. The Philippines is scheduled to begin its vaccination programme before the end of March. 

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said: “After a year of uncertainty, it’s great to see that this extremely challenging chapter is finally coming to a close.

“AirAsia has spent the travel downtime period to put in place rigorous digital initiatives and innovative technologies that would make air travel even safer and more seamless post-Covid-19. Better testing, leisure travel bubbles, and digital health passports, providing a single tool for health records across ASEAN and beyond are also coming soon to support the global travel recovery.

“I am confident that AirAsia will recover faster than many due to our low-cost model… “We have been through our fair share of crises in the past, but Covid-19 has, by far, posed the most challenging situation we have ever experienced.”

“After a year of strict cost containment, including exiting Japan and reducing our stake in India, finally there is light at the end of this very long tunnel.

“I remain optimistic we will achieve our fundraising target of MYR2.5 billion. The first tranche of the private placement of up to 20% of AirAsia Group Berhad’s total issued shares was completed last week, with 11.07% placed out, raising MYR250 million. This clearly reflects the solid market and investors confidence in the company.

“We have positive ongoing discussions for other fundraising support measures in many of our key markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, which we will announce in due course. Other capital raising and financial support measures are being considered, including capital raising for our digital entities. We expect further clarity to be reached on all funding efforts by the end of March.”