Malaysia Airlines sees increase in local flights under RMCO

Malaysia Airlines says bookings have gone up but they are nowhere near the pre-Covid-19 levels.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines is seeing a gradual increase in the number of bookings after the implementation of the recovery movement control order (RMCO).

Its spokesman said while there was an increase in bookings, there was no significant recovery in terms of overall performance.

“We are still far from the average daily domestic ticket bookings prior to the Covid-19 crisis, with a 70% reduction,” she said.

The bookings were mainly by those engaged in essential services, work-related travel and East Malaysians returning to their hometowns.

“Sabah and Sarawak have recorded the highest booking pick-up. We have also noted some increase in bookings on our sister companies, Firefly and MASwings,” she said.

Market research and trend analysis by Malaysia Airlines showed that customers were hesitant to book for travel until later this year, especially with the requirements of mandatory quarantine.

“Many global studies have also estimated that the current crisis will have a long-lasting effect and would have an impact greater than that of both the 9/11 and the global financial crisis put together.

“Air travel recovery to pre-Covid-19 level will likely take place in 2022,” the spokesman said.

To increase public confidence in air travel, she said, a few adjustments have been made to meet customer preference.

“Among others, inflight dining has been modified to limit contact between cabin crew and passengers. There is also increased frequency of toilet cleaning, and there’s suspension of inflight services such as reading material and inflight duty-free sale for the time being.”

Previously, group CEO of Malaysia Airports Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh had said the average number of daily flights had increased by 15%.

“The country’s three main airlines — Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air — have reopened local flights and have aggressively stepped up their offerings to woo Malaysians to take a break and experience travel after a three-month stay at home,” Mohd Shukrie said.

He said that based on the flight schedule submitted by AirAsia for the period between June 10 and 30, there would be an average of 22 domestic flight movements daily from Kuala Lumpur to both domestic and international destinations.

“We also look forward to a time when international borders can reopen,” he said, adding that several countries such as Singapore, China, New Zealand and Australia had implemented the “travel bubble” or safe travel corridor between certain countries.

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