Tuesday, June 09, 2009

MAS: Do not panic amid virus alert

Malaysia Airlines has urged passengers not to panic amid the outbreak of the A (H1N1) virus.

“We have seen people cancel and postpone their flights but we want to urge them not to panic.

“There are no travel bans; it is important to understand the level of severity attached to the rating by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and put it into perspective,” chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala told a press conference.

“There have been six victims of A (H1N1) so far in Malaysia but in the same period, two million people here have travelled. So in that context, the number (of victims) is small,” he added.

WHO has raised the pandemic alert level to 5, one phase short of the highest level of 6, which would indicate that a global pandemic was underway.

On a separate matter, IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani said he did not rule out further consolidation in the airline industry, given that it was struggling with over-capacity amid increased competition.

IATA has revised airlines’ financial forecast this year to a global loss of US$9bil from its March estimate of US$4.7bil losses due to the severity of the economic meltdown.

“I am an optimist. I hope it will not go further down but it is difficult to say. It will depend a lot on the situation of the fuel,” Bisignani said.

The high volatily of oil prices, the lack of transparancy of oil markets and speculation were some of the main challenges faced by the industry, he said.

Source : STAR

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