|Clockwise from top left: Garuda Indonesia, Malaysian Airlines and Thai Airways aircraft. (File photos by=AFP/Adek Berry, AFP/Manan Vatsyayana, AP/Sakchai Lalit)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] Across Southeast Asia, many pilots and flight attendants have been laid off, while others are forced to take substantial pay cuts. Many had to supplement their income by selling food or other goods, CNA reported. Meanwhile, airlines continue to suffer losses, forcing companies to downsize their fleet and employees and make drastic changes to their business strategies.
Thai Airways, for example, had to file a business reorganization petition to the country’s Central Bankruptcy Court. Meanwhile, others like Malaysia Airlines and Garuda Indonesia have been engaged in negotiation processes with airplane leasing firms and creditors to restructure their loans. Buoyed by the strong domestic market, Garuda Indonesia has said that it might be on its way to make a profit this year while pilots working for the airline said that their workload and salaries are slowly returning to normal. Malaysia Airlines CEO told CNA that the company embarks on a number of cost-cutting measures which include seeking payment deferrals and contract renegotiations. He added the company prepares for a gradual recovery of its operations.
The pandemic has caused a massive drop in the number of passengers worldwide and carriers from the region haven’t been spared. COVID-19 has changed the way people travel, socialize, and interact, and Jakarta-based aviation analyst Alvin Lie believed that some of these changes are here to stay, even after the pandemic is over.