High airfares are here to stay as airlines take advantage of the post-pandemic travel boom to lock in higher charges, Capital A Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said.
“The fare environment is very good,” Fernandes said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday from the sidelines of the Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore. “I think airlines have always underpriced their product. People are getting a little bit of a shock because they see prices a bit higher, but really we’ve been behind the curve on that as an industry.”
Airlines around the world have pushed up fares as demand outstrips supply following rapid rebound in travel after years of pandemic-era restrictions and as carriers struggle to get planes back in the sky.
“It’s not high prices, it’s real prices,” Fernandes said. “I think the fares you’re seeing now are really what you should have seen in 2019 as well.”
“After not having traveled for three years, peoples’ value of travel has also gone up,” he added. “If you don’t have it for three years, you see how important it was.”
AirAsia will have its entire fleet of more than 200 planes back in service a year earlier than initially planned, Fernandes said.
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“The main obstacle for us has been getting our planes back into service, and bringing 204 planes back is no mean feat,” he said. “And what was initially predicted to be finished by May of next year we’ll do by May of this year.”