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Air Asia to charge for desk check-ins to minimise physical contact

2 Sep 2020

Cash-strapped budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd (AIRA.KL) said it would start charging customers a fee to check-in at airport counters on Tuesday, partly to encourage them to minimize physical contact with personnel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Travellers not checking in via the airline's website, mobile app or airport kiosk will be charged 20 Malaysian ringgit (3.60 pounds) for domestic flights and 30 Malaysian ringgit for international flights, although there will be some exceptions.

Chief Operations Officer of AirAsia Group Javed Malik said the fees would help motivate travellers to take advantage of the airline's digital technology investment.

"These self-check-in facilities have become very crucial in minimizing physical contact between our guests and staff in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic," he said in a statement.

Last month, AirAsia reported the largest quarterly loss in its history due to the devastating impact that the pandemic had on the demand for travel, with revenue down 96%.

The airline said it had applied for bank loans in its operating markets and presented proposals for capital raising from investment bankers, lenders and potential investors.

The new AirAsia check-in fees are well below the PLC (RYA.I) 55 euro (49.18 pounds) charges imposed by European budget carrier Ryanair Holdings for airport check-in, which was put in place before the pandemic.

According to its website, U.S. low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines charges $10 for boarding passes to be printed at the airport.