In a press release issued on Monday, Malaysia Airlines said it will be reinstating some suspended routes throughout April and May. It is doing so to bring home people who have been stranded in other parts of the world due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“Fly Back Home”
Beginning on the 1st of April, the already troubled Malaysia Airlines will again operate some of the routes it has suspended as a result of the country’s nationwide movement restrictions coupled with unprecedented drops in demand. Flights will once more take off from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Jakarta, and Guangzhou.
“Many customers from Malaysians to foreigners have reached out to our global offices requesting for available flights mostly between Kuala Lumpur to Australia and New Zealand as well as to Kuala Lumpur onward to London,” said Izham Ismail, Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines in the media statement, entitled “Fly Back Home with Malaysia Airlines.”
Seats at reasonable prices
There will be between four to seven flights to each destination in April, but only two to three return trips throughout May. Passengers who are looking for flights to return home can book the tickets via the Malaysia Airlines website, or its mobile app.
At the time of writing, prices for a one-way ticket to KL from Sydney started at about $650. To get “back home” from Guangzhou was about $200. The most expensive are the tickets to and from Auckland, starting at around $750.
These seem to be much more fairly priced options compared to the exorbitant amounts some airlines have seen fit to charge for special repatriation flights. Although, should anyone feel the need to be repatriated in style, business class seats are available from close to $3,000.
Nationwide movement restrictions
Malaysia has the highest number of coronavirus cases so far in Southeast Asia. At the time of writing, the nation has registered 2,766 cases and 43 deaths. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has extended the country’s lockdown, originally intended to last for two weeks until the 31st of March. It is now set to end on the 14th of April.
The nationwide movement restriction order means that Malaysian citizens are not allowed to leave the country. Anywho returns from abroad will be subject to medical screening upon arrival and subject to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the country, but those who found themselves there when the border closure was announced are allowed to leave. Transit passengers are allowed but are “subject to current protocols.”
Stand-by for medical transport
Malaysia Airlines, along with its sister airlines Firefly and MASwings, have positioned stand-by aircraft at major airports to be able to quickly transport medical personnel and equipment throughout the country.
The airline says it has also dedicated belly space on its international and domestic network, and utilized the MASkargo global freighter network to transport tonnes of face masks and protective equipment from China to Kuala Lumpur, and then onwards domestically.
It said that in the next few days, its sister cargo-carrier would fly in over 10 million pieces of masks and ventilators from Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Do you know anyone who has gotten stranded overseas due to travel restrictions? What has their experience been with help from their airline? Let us know in the comments!