KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Nov 2020:
AirAsia Group Bhd’s 33%-owned associate company in Japan, AirAsia Japan Co Ltd (AAJ), today filed for bankruptcy.
“(This was) due to insolvency resulting from a demand slump in travel induced by lockdown restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic,” the airline said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today.
AirAsia Group holds the interest in AAJ via its shareholding in AirAsia Investment Ltd.
On Oct 5, the group announced that its board of directors had decided to cease AAJ’s operations with immediate effect to reduce its cash burn amid the highly challenging operating conditions in Japan which have been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, AirAsia Group Bhd expects its business to return to pre-pandemic level on many routes by mid-2021, if not earlier – given the general outlook that air travel will be bouncing back real soon.
President (airlines) Bo Lingam said positive developments on travel bubbles already being formed in Asia and numerous Covid-19 vaccines in near final stages of testing were certainly great news for the airline industry.
“Air travel is essential for the world’s economy and AirAsia is already seeing strong signs of recovery in our key domestic markets where there is much pent-up demand.
“AirAsia’s domestic services in Thailand, for example, are already at close to 100% of pre-COVID capacity levels and there are similar strong positive signs from across the AirAsia group including in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, indicating that forward bookings for future travel are already on the rebound in our major markets,” he said in a statement today.
With a network of over 160 destinations across Asia Pacific, Lingam said AirAsia is well positioned in the aviation travel market to recover faster than many other airlines.
“A real bonus point is that the majority of our major international markets that are also tourism hotspots like Thailand, Singapore, Australia, South Korea, Indochina and Taiwan are coping extremely well with the pandemic and they are very likely to reopen borders first.
“We continue to work closely with tourism and airport partners to stimulate domestic air travel while making good progress in discussions on the formation of travel bubbles with low risk international destinations.”