AirAsia's CEO Tony Fernandes expects air travel to return to pre-Covid levels in the next six to 12 months. “People want to travel and demand is there, which is the most important thing, ” he said. KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Group Bhd is focusing on expanding its base in South-East Asia and is in discussions about starting three new airlines in the region, chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. Fernandes expects air travel to return to pre-Covid levels in the next six to 12 months. “People want to travel and demand is there, which is the most important thing, ” he said. Thailand’s domestic market, for example, is already back to pre-Covid level and would be ahead of it by the end of December, he said. Fares will remain largely the same. The airline’s plan to raise up to RM2.5bil is on schedule. “We are feeling quietly optimistic for 2021.” AirAsia is converting a lot of aircraft into cargo planes to supplement the passenger business. Fernandes said the company is evaluating its AirAsia India venture with Tata Group, while expanding their relationship in the digital business. “At the right time we will make the announcements, but definitely our strength is South-East Asia and that’s where most of our expansion is going to be over the next two to three years.” — Bloomberg
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