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AirAsia to resume Singapore flights, months after halt over COVID-19

Bangkok Desk, Aug 4 (efe-epa).- Asia’s largest low-cost airline said in a statement published Tuesday it would resume international flight from Malaysia to Singapore this month after the two governments had reached an agreement to allow certain types of travel between the countries.

AirAsia Berhad said it would resume international flights to Singapore from Aug. 17, months after travel between the two countries was suspended in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which brought much of the region’s major transit routes to a halt.

“Both countries have performed exceptionally well in keeping the spread of COVID-19 in check especially amongst the local populations,” the airline’s CEO Tony Fernandes said in the statement, dated Monday. “Both the governments and the people of Malaysia and Singapore deserve a pat on the back for their relentless efforts and strict discipline in breaking the COVID-19 chain.”

Flights would be allowed to resume under the Reciprocal Green Lane program for essential business and official purposes which requires that passengers be subject to the existing coronavirus prevention measures during all phases of travel. These would include undergoing Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests to test people for the illness.

These measures are the first steps to resume flights between the countries since travel was suspended in March, something which Fernandes welcomed in his statement.

“The [green lane] might only be the first step but certainly is most important as both countries start to revive the economy,” the CEO said. “We look forward to the formation of more ‘travel bubbles’ and ‘green lanes’ between countries with low infection rates or active cases, and proven pandemic curbing systems.”

The resumption, especially that of its Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route – which the airline claims is among the world’s busiest – is good news for the world’s third-largest budget airline, which has seen it post a $187 million loss in the last four months due to the pandemic, according to its latest report in July.

Fernandes said at the time that the situation was “by far the biggest challenge we have faced since we began in 2001.”

AirAsia Berhad traded at 0.60 on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon, down 0.83 percent. EFE-EPA


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