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COVID-19 normalisation: Flights are increasing again and beyond before COVID-19. Good sign?

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Do you believe flights are increasing again? What are your holiday plans for the upcoming school holidays? (even if it’s a short one). When do you think you will fly again?

My daughter who’s 7 years old has probably flew 50 times. In other words, 7-8 flights ever year. Well, COVID-19 arrived and MCO started in March 2020 and we have yet to fly since then. What has happened though is that we are looking for that opportunity. Probably somewhere within Malaysia. My sister will be flying next month to Langkawi. Already I have so many friends who are flying within Malaysia and doing their best to support the Malaysian economy through cuti-cuti Malaysia.

At the moment, this is not enough. Airlines continue to struggle because international borders are closed and relying on just the local market will mean lots of financial pains ahead. However, what is certain is this. Airlines that could just survive long enough will be winners because some of their competitors could not and if they fail and the market recover, imagine what will happen to the business volume of the remaining airlines. Question is this. WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN? Let’s look at China for some clues.

flights are increasing again
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Article in thesundaily.my China expects a significant rebound in domestic travel for the upcoming Golden Week. This holiday is one of the busiest times for travel. Trip.com said, “The demand on tourism that was suppressed for nine months will probably be released in these eight days.“

There were more domestic air bookings made between Oct. 1 and Sept. 14 than in the year-earlier period and the surge came in August where economy seats to popular routes like Beijing to southwestern city of Lijiang has sold out.

Hotel and airline bookings made during the week of Sept. 8-15 exceeded those made during the same period last year, Alibaba-backed online travel platform Fliggy said. By the way, travelling is not encouraged by all. In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, schools have asked parents and students not to go away for the holidays unless strictly necessary. “Schools want to cut risks to the minimum.” Please do read the article in full here. Article in thesundaily.my

Flights are increasing again, that’s for sure if we are to compare to month of March, April, May and even June. I think people start to warm up again to the prospect of flying as long as the destination they intend to go is not one of the COVID-19 hotspots. Some may want to point out that there are people who’s not taking it seriously, not wearing masks properly but truth is, Malaysians are generally quite compliant.

In fact if I am operating a restaurant, I am NOT going to risk between earning an extra RM50 from one table full of people without masks versus a fine or even a closure… This is the same for nursery operators, for supermarkets and for malls too. It’s a simple number game. Welcome the compliant ones and keep out all the rest so that we could minimise the risk of any potential infections and could continue opening.

However, all these are still not enough to save jobs in the airline and tourism industry. Without international travellers, there’s no certainty how long could airlines stay afloat. For now, let’s just hope they have rationalised enough and that the current demand for flights could cover their fixed costs and they will find fundings to cover the rest until international borders are reopened. If only we have over a billion population like China… then at least even domestic demand alone could help sustain many airlines… flights are increasing again.

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