AirAsia X disagrees with government’s proposed tourism fee

 Thursday, September 8, 2022 

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The chief executive of AirAsia X disagrees with the Thai government’s proposal for tourism fees on flights.

Instead, the government should focus on the influx of passengers as the economy gets aided, says Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia X’s working group.

He says that the tourism fee will have less impact on the economy than the increase in tourism.

As COVID-19 ravaged the company’s profits, Fernandes says it has made a strong comeback after completing debt restructuring in March.

They can restart at the right time as more countries are reopening borders, particularly Japan and South Korea in Northeast Asia, which is our main destination.

He went further to say that although China’s borders remain closed, AirAsia X can return to profitability as new airline routes are being planned to Europe next year.

The cities of London and Istanbul are among the routes to be planned, while Vienna, Budapest, and Prague will join the routes to eastern Europe.

Fernandes says as Malaysia starts to reopen, AirAsia X Berhad will see a full recovery of seat capacity by the second quarter of 2023, matching the top line at pre-pandemic levels by the second half of the same year.

And, if China reopens, the added bonus will be huge for the company’s growth.

However, he says Thailand may be hampered in its recovery as complicated entry restrictions have slowed it down initially.

But, with the Thailand Pass and other requirements being lifted in July, travel demand increased as tourists weren’t deterred. Currently, Thai AirAsia X flies three jets to Seoul and Tokyo.

In December, the company plans to add services to Sydney and Melbourne.

Fernandes says he hopes the government will decide not to collect a 300 baht proposed tourism levy as Thailand’s tourism recovery is just starting to take off.

Nonetheless, he says AirAsia X will comply with the levy but says the government should continue to allow tourism to recover.

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