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Tony Fernandes: High airfares here to stay as airlines take advantage of post Covid-19 travel boom

Publish date: Tue, 28 Feb 2023, 02:27 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — Capital A Bhd group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said higher airfares will be the current norm as airlines take advantage of the post-Covid-19 pandemic travel boom to lock in higher charges.

“The fare environment is very good.

“I think airlines have always underpriced their products. People are getting a little bit of a shock because they see prices a bit higher, but really, we’ve been behind the curve on that as an industry,” Fernandes was quoted saying in a Free Malaysia Today (FMT) report.

He was commenting on the current high fares charged by airlines around the world as demand outstrips supply.

This follows the rapid rebound in travel after years of Covid-19 pandemic-era restrictions and as carriers struggle to get planes back in the sky.

Fernandes was quoted by the news portal during an interview with Bloomberg Television earlier today on the sidelines of the Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore.

The 58-year-old Malaysian entrepreneur also dismissed the notion that the current airline fares have been deliberately made expensive.

“It’s not high prices, it’s real prices,” he said, adding that the current fare pricing structure had already started even before the Covid-19 pandemic back in 2019.

Fernandes pointed out that after the pandemic and with people not having travelled for three years, travel’s value has also increased.

“If you don’t have it for three years, you will see how important it was,” he said.

On AirAsia’s immediate plans, Fernandes reportedly said that they will have its fleet of more than 200 planes back in service a year earlier than initially planned.

“The main obstacle for us has been getting our planes back into service, and bringing 204 planes back is no mean feat.

“What was initially predicted to be finished by May of next year, we’ll do by May of this year,” he said.

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