KUALA LUMPUR (April 7): Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is upbeat on Malaysia's quick recovery post the Covid-19 pandemic, and the country is poised to record strong air traffic growth in the ASEAN region, said the company's Asia-Pacific president Anand Stanley.
"Demand for air travel [from the people] will be higher in this region, and [regional] airlines will have a strong role to play — to resume and meet demand, which will have a strong multiplier effect on trade and economic activities in the region.
"We at Airbus are prepared [from] a health safety standpoint, and airlines are also prepared to be able to resume growth," he told a media roundtable here today.
On the global front, Stanley said Airbus sees the recovery in activities picking up very quickly, especially in certain countries such as China, India, and the US.
He encouraged the opening of international borders after domestic travel resumes, at least at the ASEAN level, in order for regional traffic to start recovering quickly, followed by intercontinental or long-haul routes.
Being a key country in ASEAN, Malaysia is well positioned to reap the benefits of the resumption of air travel, he said.
On Airbus operations in Malaysia, Stanley said the manufacturer's industrial and procurements had not been at pre-pandemic levels at present due to movement restrictions.
However, Airbus is committed to expanding its presence in Malaysia and looking at industrial exposure beyond the recent pre-pandemic level of US$400 million (about RM1.65 billion) a year.
"Our focus today is on working with our customers to be ready for the post-pandemic world, and to provide solutions to our customers to be successful in the post-pandemic era.
"Once our customers are successful and more people fly, we believe demand for air traffic will translate into demand for planes in the post-pandemic world," he said, adding that Airbus had to cut 40% of its global production last year.
Altogether, Airbus partners with 14 companies in producing structures, components and parts for the complete range of its civil aircraft and A400M military transporters.
Malaysia is Airbus' largest supplier base in Southeast Asia and its third largest in Asia after China and India.
Airbus delivered 566 units of commercial aircraft in 2020.