SEPANG, 24 February 2021 – As Malaysia joins other Asean neighbours in rolling out a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign today, AirAsia is calling on all members of society to participate and support their respective governments towards ending the pandemic.
Recent forecasts including by the World Health Organisation (WHO) cite that the end of COVID-19 is near, with its regional WHO director for Europe, Hans Kluge, quoted saying that he believes the coronavirus outbreak will end in early 2022.
Meanwhile the chief of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that global tourism will rebound even earlier in the third quarter of 2021. Echoing this prediction is an Australian travel expert, Graham Turner, who foresees that international travel would likely recommence in the second half of 2021.
AirAsia’s Group CEO Tony Fernandes says “Vaccines being rolled out across the globe, better education and testing, globally recognised digital health passports, veil medicines, leisure travel bubbles and contactless procedures for travel are all coming together nicely, to support an international air travel reset in the very near future.
“AirAsia is more than well prepared and can’t wait to paint the skies red once again with many new innovations and digital contactless procedures to ensure the highest standards of guest hygiene and safety.
“In Malaysia, our own Prime Minister was first to get his jab today and when my turn comes I will surely be taking it. So I urge everyone to do the right thing and get the jab so we can all fly high again!
“Now is the time for us to band together and show how Malaysia is united and assist the government to get the vaccines out to the population. I urge everyone to dispel any misinformation around the vaccines, and trust the scientists and the experts. Vaccines are the answer to literally give the global tourism industry and local economies all over the world, a much needed shot in the arm.
“The aviation industry has been hugely devastated by the pandemic but we are standing strong and are patiently waiting for borders to reopen. Just like us, everyone is eager to fly, but we need to do this responsibly by getting ourselves vaccinated and continuing to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“I am very thrilled to learn that the Ministry through MIMOS, has developed a blockchain-based Vaccine Management System to ensure efficient and safe delivery and distribution of the vaccines in the country. This should also take into consideration the right target population and geographical locations so as to ensure that we achieve the most effective results in the shortest time frame.
“AirAsia is looking forward to playing an active role in the vaccination campaign. Our logistics arm Teleport is ever willing to help wherever we can, including transporting vaccines from China and Russia when they’re available, and distributing them domestically in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, India and other countries.
“Meanwhile, our pilots and cabin crew, who have not been able to fly as much as before, can also assist with frontline services during the on-ground vaccination exercise. They have been well-trained in first aid and are able to handle medical emergencies. They can surely provide valuable help to the frontliners and this is what being unconventional is about.
“Most importantly, the vaccination rollout is giving us the clearest, most tangible timeline yet as to when the pandemic will be brought under full control and life will be back to normal again, albeit with new norms. With a contribution of 15% to the annual GDP and 24% of total employment in the country, tourism is one of the most important economic drivers and its members should be given priority to receive the vaccination.” -HS