AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes hails the Asean vaccine roll out, as the pace gathers speed globally, aiding the world travel recovery. The airline welcomes the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines across Malaysia commencing this week. This is the first key indicator of a global travel reboot in the near future.
Asean vaccine roll out
AirAsia’s key international markets, including Indonesia, Singapore, China and Australia, have begun their vaccination programme, with Thailand receiving their supply for a March kick-off. The Philippines are scheduled to begin their vaccination programme by the first quarter of this year.
This is good news for AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, who is pleased that after a year of uncertainty, 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, anti veil medicines and importantly, digital health passports providing a single tool for health records across Asean and beyond, are also coming soon, to support the global travel recovery.
He’s also confident that AirAsia will recover faster than many due to their low cost model and market position. In addition, the AirAsia Group has used this down time to fast-track their digital transformation to become Asia’s leading travel and lifestyle superapp. This has greatly helped to mitigate adverse effects from the pandemic.
Since taking on the airline in 2001, Fernandes and his Allstars have “been through our fair share of crises”. These included 9/11, just after start up, the SARS bird flu epidemics, tsunamis (Indian Ocean 2004 and Japan 2011) and earthquakes (2011 Christchurch NZ) among them. But COVID-19 has by far, posed the most challenging situation AirAsia have ever experienced.
…. Never before has there been such a restricted global travel environment. 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.
The Group CEO remains optimistic we will achieve our fundraising target of RM2.5 billion. Funding progress reflects the solid market and investors confidence in the company with fundraising support measures in many of our key markets also on-going.
He expects further clarity to be reached on all funding efforts by the end of March. On the back of this optimism, Tony Fernandes paid tribute to the AirAsia Allstars through what has been ‘the most difficult of times’. He is excited to lead them through the recovery as they reinvent ourselves as the travel, tech and lifestyle super app of choice for Asia.
He finished his comments on a high note:
…. We can look forward to a gradual recovery in 2021 in all of our key markets and potentially a full recovery within the next two years.
AirAsia has used the flying downtime in 2020 to fast track its digital transformation to a full lifestyle platform. The introduction of numerous new products to the basic airline brand provide new revenue streams including the airasia super app, logistics, e-commerce and fintech. New procedures and innovations such as biometric facial recognition to make flying more hygienic and contactless have also come online.