AirAsia has immobilized 90% of its fleet in Asia
Wednesday June 9e, an executive with the Malaysian unit of AirAsia Berhad Group said that around 90% of the airline’s fleet, which consists of more than 200 planes, had been grounded due to the increased outbreak of COVID-19 across Asia. Even Malaysia, which is the airline’s largest market with 105 planes, is stranded. At a CAPA Center for Aviation event on Wednesday, AirAsia Malaysia’s COO Javed Anwar Malik said demand is expected to rebound from August, potentially allowing AirAsia Malaysia to restore its services at the 17 national airports it serves in October. He added that a full return to pre-COVID demand levels was not expected until Q3 2022.
The number of passengers carried during the quarter ended March 31st was 9, 76, 968 and that was a 90% drop from a year ago. Last month, AirAsia reported its seventh consecutive quarterly loss and said it was continuing efforts to get more cash. Amid the struggles of the pandemic, the group is now planning to launch a dedicated freight service as demand for air freight steadily increases across the world. Teleport, which is AirAsia Digital’s logistics company, is now strengthening its position as a crucial air logistics partner in Asia, with the operation of its very first cargo aircraft, a dedicated Boeing 737-800F. At the same time, two Airbus A320 passenger planes were converted to cargo planes after the passenger seats were removed for optimum cargo capacity.
The conversion of the two Airbuses would have been carried out by Asia Digital Engineering which is a 100% subsidiary of the group and by Thai AirAsia for the aircraft which will be based in Thailand. Freight operations are expected to start from the third quarter of this year and the cargo will operate from the Teleport Hub in Bangkok, Thailand. The additional freight capacity will prove to be very useful in consolidating its network of routes between high traffic areas such as India, China and South East Asia, and therefore connectivity to and from long markets. – Teleport couriers will increase. The two converted Airbus A320s will be based at the strategic hubs of Kuala Lampur and Bangkok. And through these hubs, planes will continue to operate to major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Yangon.
Teleport COO Adrian Loretz said: “We are delighted to share this expansion as we strengthen our logistics footprint in Asia. It was evident at the end of last year that in the long term, the demand for cargo capacity was not going to be met by passenger belly capacity alone. We have therefore evaluated this option to use freighters dedicated to the transport of goods. It’s also part of our strategy to build capacity and connectivity to offer 24-hour door-to-door delivery throughout South East Asia. “
Airlines around the world are facing an unprecedented crisis with a growing need for liquidity and facing downsizing risks. In India alone, passenger traffic fell almost 30% in April from the previous month and was halved again in May. Even IndiGo, which is the biggest and most cashed in the country, had to act on it. Small carriers like SpiceJet and privately-held GoAir may soon come under pressure to reduce capacity, find partners or consolidate, analysts say.
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