AirAsia plans to reactivate 30-45 aircraft this month if interstate borders lift

AirAsia plans to reactivate 30-45 aircraft this month if interstate borders lift
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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 7): AirAsia Group Bhd is looking to reactivate about 30 to 45 aircraft this month should interstate borders lift, said the group’s president (airlines) Bo Lingam.

“We are looking forward to the reopening of interstate travel. We have started retraining pilots in anticipation of the opening. Should interstate travel be allowed, we are looking to have 20 aircrafts ready for reactivation by Oct 10 and about another 10 more by Oct 20. If all goes well, we are planning to reactivate another 15 aircraft by this month end,” Lingam told The Edge when contacted.

On how much the airline would have to spend to reactivate its operations, Lingam said it will involve about RM3 million to RM5 million one-off cost to retrain pilots, and about RM5 to RM10 million for its planes to go through all the necessary checks before flying again.

“Per month, our current operating cost is about RM70 million to RM100 million,” he added.

This means the RM500 million club facility for which Danajamin Nasional Bhd has approved the guarantee of 80% under its Danajamin Prihatin Guarantee Scheme would be enough to cover the airline's operating costs for five to seven months.

But Lingam said the group is confident it will have income streaming in by then, with the anticipated reopening of borders.

As to when the RM500 million loan will come in, Lingam said it could be by this month or next.

On interstate travels, Lingam hopes the government would announce the detailed standard operating procedure prior to the reopening.

“This is so everybody can make the necessary preparations before that... This will help us tremendously to plan and ensure everybody is safe while they travel,” he added.

The government has announced that unrestricted interstate travel will be allowed when 90% of the country's adult population has been fully vaccinated.

As of Tuesday (Oct 5), 88.4% of Malaysia's adult population has completed their two-dose regimen.

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Tan Choe Choe