AirAsia passengers wearing face masks walk to the check-in counter at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang on April 29, 2020. (AFP/Mohd Rasfan)
Cash-strapped budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd said on Tuesday it would begin charging customers a fee to check in at airport counters, in part to encourage them to minimize physical contact with staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Travelers who do not check in via the airline’s website, mobile app or airport kiosk will be charged 20 Malaysian ringgit (US$4.82) for domestic flights and 30 Malaysian ringgit for international flights, though some exceptions will apply.
AirAsia Group Chief Operations Officer Javed Malik said the fees would help motivate travelers to make use of the airline’s investment in digital technology.
“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, these self-check-in facilities have become very crucial in minimizing physical contact between our guests and staff,” he said in a statement.
AirAsia last month reported the biggest quarterly loss in its history due to the devastating impact the pandemic has had on travel demand, with revenue down 96 percent.
The airline said it had applied for bank loans in its operating markets and had been presented with proposals from investment bankers, lenders and potential investors to raise capital.
The new AirAsia check-in fees are well below European budget carrier Ryanair Holdings’s PLC 55 euro (US$66) charge for airport check-in, which was put in place before the pandemic.
US low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines charges $10 for boarding passes to be printed at the airport, according to its website.
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