Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes said the budget carrier plans to resume “a large part” of its route network by the end of 2021.
Fernandes pointed to Air Asia’s strong presence across domestic and regional markets, as well as the low-cost operating model, which he believes will drive the airline’s recovery.
“It’s been the toughest challenge, but I think the outlook’s getting better,” Fernades told CNBC, as part of the World Economic Forum’s Davos agenda coverage.
“The most important thing is there’s a huge amount of demand out there and we just have to wait for borders to open. I think we’re one of the first kinds of businesses that will recover, from an airline perspective, because we’re very strong in domestic and regional.”
Fernades also said budget airlines, with their shorter routes and on-demand services, are better positioned than long-haul carriers reliant on premium cabins. He expects business travel to recover more slowly as people opt for virtual meetings, reported CNBC.
“Time is a great healer. Eventually, business travel will come back but there’ll be an element that will say ‘well I can do it from Zoom’,” he added.