International travel to recover soon – forecast

Border reopenings may start in March, AirAsia CEO says

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes has said worldwide travel is likely to rebound strongly despite progress being slowed by the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

“I do believe that we’re at the beginning of the end,” he told CNBC on Monday, adding that recovery has already begun in earnest and demand has been “very, very robust.”

Fernandes said, “The good thing is, this time last year, we had no planes flying. Now, we’ve got a large chunk of our fleet flying domestic Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.”

The AirAsia CEO believes international travel will return to pre-Covid levels around six months after borders begin to reopen. He also said he hopes borders will start to open again in March.

According to Fernandes, China continues to be a “big question” in terms of reopening, as the nation is still pursuing a zero-Covid policy.

Last year, some Asian countries reopened to quarantine-free travel after months of border closures. However, with the spread of Omicron, several countries, including Thailand and India, have reinstated restrictions for some arrivals.

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