Capital A eyes zero-emission aircraft in planned fleet transformation

KUALA LUMPUR (April 30): Capital A Bhd, formerly AirAsia Group Bhd, said the low-cost airline is monitoring the development of zero-emission aircraft as part of its planned fleet transformation and is exploring innovative ways to prepare for the future of travel.

Capital A said in its latest 2021 annual report, which was filed with Bursa Malaysia on Friday April 29, that while it plans to transform its fleet with the fuel-efficient Airbus 321neo, it is also monitoring the development of zero-emission aircraft. and consider how this fits into its operations from 2035.

“In the meantime, we look forward to becoming a pioneer in the exciting space of ultra-short-haul travel in Asean. On February 16, we signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to lease at least 100 electric vertical take-offs and landings (eVTOL) from our partner Avolon.

“Also known as air taxis, eVTOLs are poised to revolutionize mobility not just by being zero emissions, but by introducing the futuristic concept of being able to fly from point A to point B just like you would with an e-hailing.

“As with everything we do, this will be another exciting first for the region – making ultra-short-haul air travel environmentally friendly affordable and inclusive. We are currently undertaking a comprehensive study and look forward to announcing further developments in our next annual report,” he added.

Capital A Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and Managing Director Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said in the annual report that AirAsia is pulling more of its planes out of hibernation to meet strong pent-up demand for air travel as travel restrictions driven by Covid-19 gradually eased.

“After almost two years of having his wings clipped [since the Covid-19 outbreak began in early 2020], people are just looking forward to traveling again. We believe all signs point to regional air travel returning to some normality as the year progresses and international air travel recovering rapidly throughout 2022 and beyond.

“(2022) began with the emergence of a concerning new variant, Omicron, which has spread widely and rapidly. While more contagious than some of the previous variants, many leading experts agree that it is not is not as severe with proportionately low hospitalization rates.

“We therefore remain cautiously optimistic that this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Many ASEAN countries are already opening their borders to international tourists thanks to high vaccination rates, better education and testing as the world is learning to live with Covid-19,” they added.

On another note, Capital A said that in response to the easing of travel restrictions, around 43% of AirAsia’s planes are back in the skies.

“Within our key markets, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have started to reopen to travellers. The vaccinated traffic lane between Malaysia and Singapore resumed on January 24. Even the Australian government, one of the strictest in the region, has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated visitors from February 21,” the group added.

Shares of Capital A closed up 1.5 sen or 2.13% at 72 sen on Friday, valuing the group at around RM3 billion based on its 4.16 billion shares outstanding.

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