AirAsia is waking up its aircraft and starting up the engines to return to the skies soon. In preparation for that, it has established a vaccination centre at its headquarters, RedQ in Malaysia.
AirAsia is making arrangements for about 2,500 of its Allstars to participate in the vaccination drive. It is doing so to increase the vaccine uptake of the aviation industry.
With vaccination, AirAsia staff can prepare for the resumption of air travel soon.
Health professionals will administer the vaccine from DOC2US, one of the Healthcare Organisers (HCO) appointed by ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn. Bhd. the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) supports the programme. The JKJAV is co-chaired by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), the Ministry of Health (MOH) as well as the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said: “The vaccination momentum is accelerating in all of our key markets. Malaysia is among the top ASEAN countries. It is on track to have around 80% of the population vaccinated by the end of 2021. Thailand is vaccinating about 60% of its people and approximately 50% in the Philippines and Indonesia by the year-end.
“It is critical to ensure that everyone works together to increase vaccination capacity nationwide and help eliminate the virus. Aggressive vaccination rolls out are occurring in ASEAN and around the world. Countries such as the US and EU countries are reopening their economies. They are beginning to reopen tourism.”
Travel will resume soon.
Encouraging signs are on the horizon. Thailand has reopened leisure travel for vaccinated tourists under the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programme this month. AirAsia Philippines’ operation looks at a similar gradual resumption of services. They aim to fly up to 16% of pre-Covid capacity from the end of next month. Most Allstars around the region have already been vaccinated or registered to get their shots as soon as possible. By the time operations resume, all AirAsia’s operating crew will be fully vaccinated.
“Realistically, we don’t need the entire population vaccinated to start flying. Many experts hold the view of a 50% vaccination base for the people to start flying again. Daily vaccinations are now exceeding 550,000 and growing in Malaysia. We should reach the desired target soon. We will start to see cases coming down and the curve dramatically turning,” said Tony.
Strong correlation to vaccination and the recovery of the travel industry
With the tourism industry contributing over 15% of GDP in Malaysia alone, vaccines are critical for protection. They will play a vital role in supporting tourism and the economy to get back on its feet – at the same time, helping to ease domestic travel restrictions and reopen international borders securely as fast as possible.
There is a clear correlation between vaccines and recovery, as evidenced in the US, Canada, and many other European countries that have achieved high vaccination rates amongst their respective populations. In the US, for example, the economy is going to reopen soon fully, and air passenger traffic has also improved in tandem with the gradual reopening of borders and vaccine rollout.
“I’m confident we will have enough of the population vaccinated and an international health passport solution, be it paper in the short term or digital in the longer term. Hopefully, there will be a robust regional comeback in Asean, hopefully by the end of 2021 and an international reboot by early 2022.
AirAsia pivots to digital travel lifestyle
Tony remains optimistic about the future of AirAsia. The company has transitioned into a digital lifestyle company anchored on travel. AirAsia is not just an airline anymore and is starting to see some key competitors take notice and follow its lead. This is a testament to what the company has achieved in the past 18 months.
Not only have AirAsia rapidly put in place the right foundations for a viable and prosperous future for its airline, AirAsia’s transformation to become the Asean Super App of choice is gaining tremendous momentum and is already delivering solid results across all digital platforms, setting it apart from competitors to be more robust and resilient in the post-Covid-19 world.
“The long wait is coming to an end. We will recover so much stronger. While we transform into a digital and aviation company, one thing that won’t change is our commitment to the people. The vaccination drive is not only for our aviation workforce but also for our delivery riders, who are also our Allstars.
We look forward to once again delivering volume for tourism in our key markets and creating jobs again as we return to the skies,” added Tony.