KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Airlines in Malaysia could take three years to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, depending on the outbreak in the country and abroad, the transport ministry said.
The minister said earlier this week that in the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (MAVCOM) revised projections for passenger traffic this year, it expects passenger numbers to shrink as much as 75.6% to 26.6 million, compared with the 109.2 million passengers recorded in 2019.
“In this regard, airlines are expected to need a period of three years to fully recover situation from the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, subject to the of the outbreak in the country and abroad,” he said in a written parliamentary reply dated Monday.
Airlines globally have taken a hit from the pandemic as governments shut borders and grounded flights to contain the spread of the virus.
MAVCOM first revised lower its 2020 passenger traffic forecast in June, expecting a contraction of as much as 50.3%, to 54.3 million passengers.
Malaysia’s national carrier Malaysia Airlines and the long-haul unit of AirAsia Group Bhd, AirAsia X Bhd , have both cut staff and announced restructuring plans.
AirAsia Group has also lowered its market recovery expectations.
The Malaysian arm of Indonesia’s Lion AirMalindo Air has also launched a retrenchment exercise.
Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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