AirAsia grounds most of its fleet due to Covid-19 (VIDEO)

An AirAsia plane lands on the tarmac at the Sultan Azlan Shah airport in Ipoh October 1, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib
An AirAsia plane lands on the tarmac at the Sultan Azlan Shah airport in Ipoh October 1, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Low-cost carrier AirAsia Group has announced it is temporarily ‘hibernating’ most of its 255-strong fleet across its network, in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic worldwide.

The ‘hibernation’ is also applicable to long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X, and all affected guests have been immediately notified via email and SMS.

“Guests have the option of converting their flight booking into a credit account that is valid for future redemption for 365 days or moving their flights for an unlimited number of times without any charges to another date prior to October 31,” said the group in a statement.

The changes can be made through AirAsia virtual Allstar AVA on airasia.com or support.airasia.com. The group also advised guests to keep up with travel advisories issued by AirAsia from time to time.

AirAsia short-haul operations will temporarily suspend all international and domestic flights including Malaysia from March 28 to April 21, Philippines from March 20 to April 14, Thailand from March 22 to April 25, and India from March 25 onwards for a period of 21 days.

AirAsia Indonesia’s international flight frequency has been significantly reduced along with domestic flights. Medium and long-haul operations affected include AirAsiaX Malaysia from March 28 to May 31, and AirAsia X Thailand from March 16 for a period of three months.

“AirAsia always places the safety and wellbeing of its guests and employees as its top priority. We believe this temporary fleet hibernation is the right thing to do to ensure their well-being, which will remain the main focus of our business during this challenging time.

“We will continue to evaluate the situation closely and we are prepared to reinstate our services as soon as the situation improves, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals,” the group said.

Similarly, as part of cost containment and management, AirAsia’s management personnel and senior employees have volunteered for a salary cut, from 100 per cent at the very top to 15 per cent, the group said.

“This will help ensure that we can ride out this prolonged period of extremely low travel demand and at the same time minimise the impact on our employees, especially those in junior positions.

“Our online marketplace OURSHOP and its cargo and logistics platform Teleport will remain operational, with Teleport utilising passenger aircraft to transport medical aid and protective equipment intended for hospitals and frontline emergency responders at selected destinations,” it said.

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