Vaccine rollout paves way for faster travel reboot: says AirAsia group CEO

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2021 03:21 PM

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit on Monday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Vaccine rollout in various Asian nations will pave the way for the faster rebound of the aviation sector which was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes said Monday. 

The rollout of vaccines in Malaysia, the progress in Indonesia, Singapore, China, Australia as well as the scheduled inoculation in Thailand and the Philippines are keys to "a global travel reboot in the near future," Fernandes said in a statement.

“After a year of uncertainty, it’s great to see that this extremely challenging chapter is finally coming to a close," he said.

“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," he added.

For AirAsia, the downtime, which grounded many planes worldwide, was used to accelerate digital initiatives such as its super app, logistics, e-commerce, fintech and other innovations including facial recognition, it said in a statement.

Fernandes said he remains optimistic about reaching its fundraising target of RM2.5 billion (P30 billion). AirAsia Group Berhad raised RM250 million last week, it said.

Its local arm, AirAsia Philippines earlier announced it would lay off at least 12 percent of its workers or over 200 employees.

Domestic and international carriers have retrenched workers, reduced operations and implemented various cost-cutting measures to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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