Air Asia charter flight repatriates stranded Malaysian nationals before CNY

Two special Air Asia international charter flights today (Tuesday) helped 58 people, mainly Malaysian citizens, to travel between Macau and Malaysia ahead of the Chinese New Year.

According to the airline, the Macau-Kuala Lumpur flight allowed 50 Malaysian nationals and five transit passengers the opportunity to return home to be reunited with their families ahead of the lunar new year holiday period, with three Macau residents returning in the same plane in a prior Kuala Lumpur-Macau flight.

‘The services between Macau and Malaysia today, highlight our readiness to resume international connections in the near future to serve both business and leisure travellers once conditions improve and travel restrictions are lifted,’ the CEO of AirAsia Hong Kong and Macau, Celia Lao, stated in a company announcement.

The charter flights were facilitated by the Consulate General of Malaysia in Hong Kong and Macau, Yap Wei Sin, who noted that due to travel restrictions this special flight was the only way for these 48 Malaysian nationals to return home for the lunar new year.

All travellers entering Malaysia were required to provide a Travel Notice Letter from the Consulate-General and were subject to the quarantine and related procedures in both cities.

According to information published by the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), as of November 2020, there were 967 Malaysian nationals working in Macau, less 20 per cent than in January.

Several charter flights have been organised since the pandemic outbreak to assist stranded Vietnamese, Filipino, Malaysian and Indonesian workers in the city to return to their respective home countries.

Since November 2020 Air Asia has operated some charter flights for both cargo and passengers in Hong Kong and Macau, but the company has yet to reinstate its former regular flights.

The company’s Hong Kong and Macau CEO recently stated that Air Asia was expected to return to pre-pandemic times on many routes by mid-2021, and that it was still working closely with authorities in both SARs to try and establish travel bubbles to low-risk destinations.