Malaysia Airlines (MH) and Japan Airlines (JAL) will today launch a joint business partnership, which had been delayed by several months due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The partnership to establish commercial cooperation on flights between Malaysia and Japan is expected to form a travel bubble—or “corona corridor”—to vastly expedite cross-border movement. The resultant synergy is likewise expected to boost trade and tourism in the short-term, providing a critical economic cushion amid the damage wrought by COVID-19.
MH and JAL are reportedly set to make a combined offer of four weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo Narita for the remainder of the summer, in a calculated move to redistribute risk without reducing flight frequency. According to a recent Moody’s report, commercial aviation is forecasted to suffer the effects of COVID-19 until 2023, with sustained passenger demand to be a critical factor in the global recovery timeline. While the industry is expected to make a full recovery when demand eventually returns to 2019 levels, the bleak medium-term outlook will likely require additional government support to sustain global employment, preclude restructurings and mitigate sector consolidation.
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Daniel is an analyst and editor on the Current Developments team. He contributes regularly to the Daily Brief, focusing primarily on European, Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan politics.