SEPANG, 11 May 2021: AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes has reaffirmed confidence in a strong comeback for AirAsia and regional airlines this year, driven by vaccine rollout and robust pent up travel demand.
Fernandes, who received his first vaccination Tuesday in Malaysia, commented: “Vaccines are working, and you only need to look to countries with significant progress in Covid-19 vaccination, such as the US, the UK and Israel, where there is a clear correlation between significantly less daily cases and vaccination programmes being rolled out as fast as possible.”
“Vaccines being rolled out and strong demand will fuel a V-shaped recovery in coming months. According to IATA, there will be a rapid recovery in domestic air travel set to be above 2019 by 2022 with the Asia Pacific leading the way.”
This view is shared in a recent report by Rothschild and Co*, which concludes that travel sentiment is improving on vaccine efforts and, combined with pent up demand, will fuel a strong rebound in key domestic markets in Asia-Pacific by the second half of 2021. It highlights that web traffic for major airlines and broader travel websites indicate a surge in web traffic for regions with high vaccination rates.
“I received my vaccine today (Tuesday), and my Allstars in all of our key markets are either already vaccinated or are registering to get theirs as soon as possible. Importantly, in all of the major markets, we operate in, vaccination rollouts are on track to have the majority of the population vaccinated towards the end of the year, which is a great sign of things to come for the AirAsia Group.”
“In Malaysia, although we see a new wave, we see this as short term pain for long term gain. Things will get better, and this is already proven in countries where vaccination progress is highest. Although ASEAN countries are already in the early stages of vaccination, many country authorities are committed to meeting their targets of inoculating the majority of their citizens by the end of the year.
“Travel bubbles will also support a fast rebound in the travel industry as countries deliver high vaccination rates and gain control of the virus. Global infectious disease experts are even predicting coronavirus may be treated as a simple cold in the future.”
He concluded: “I’m confident AirAsia will recover faster than many of our competitors, as more than 50% of our business is domestic leisure, which is going to pick up before regional or business travel. Low-cost domestic short-haul will likely rebound by the third quarter of 2021, and international could reach pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of 2022. With the increased introduction and adoption of a digital travel passport and vaccine passport, travel will also be made easier and safer amid the current situation.
*The report compiled views from ‘IATA Economics Airline Industry Financial Forecast update, Moody’s and major brokers.’
(Source: News AirAsia)