Selangor Journal
The quiet atmosphere at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) due to the Covid-19 pandemic, on May 26, 2020. — Picture by BERNAMA

Airlines need time to fully recover from Covid-19 — Transport ministry

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — The Transport Ministry (MOT) expects airline companies would require 18 months to see a full revival of the domestic sector from the Covid-19 impact and three years to restore their international sector business.

In yesterday’s parliamentary proceedings, the ministry said in a written reply that as a preparation for opening up the aviation sector, the government had, through the economic stimulus package, agreed for Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to reduce landing and parking charges through a contra mechanism.

It also said that based on recommendations by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, World Health Organisation and International Air Transport Association during the recovery movement control order period from June 10 till August 31, 2020, more leeway was given including permission to undertake trans-state flights and the exemption from social distancing in all scheduled and non-scheduled flights.

“This relaxation has increased the demand for domestic flight services,” according to the ministry’s written reply to Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman’s (Warisan-Sepanggar) written question on steps taken by the government to revive the aviation industry, which was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministry also said that the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and airlines had collaborated to increase awareness and people’s confidence to use aviation services to revive the domestic tourism sector.

“In a move to revive the international tourism sector, MOT welcomes the efforts of the government to introduce the concept of travel bubble to a few countries such as Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Japan,” it said.

Through the concept, flights and passengers from countries in the green category will be allowed to enter Malaysia subject to certain standard operating procedures such as stringent health screening tests before take-off and arrival in Malaysia.

“The travel bubble proposal is subject to negotiations between the Health Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry with the respective countries and is reciprocal in nature,” MOT said.

Meanwhile, statistics showed a declining trend in domestic passenger demand since March 1, 2020. The passenger demand shrank from 280,321 a day in January 2020 to 7,500 a day in May.

— Bernama

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