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Asian airlines fly nervously into post-COVID future

Carriers brace for restructuring, but crisis also presents opportunities

Thai Airways aircraft lined up at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand on May 21. (Photo by Akira Kodaka) 

TOKYO -- "Just another chapter in that never-ending story of AirAsia" was how Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian tycoon who heads Asia's largest budget carrier, described this year of struggle.

Dressed in his favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers T-shirt and speaking during an online event hosted by aviation research company CAPA -- Centre for Aviation on Dec. 9, Fernandes remained aggressive about his company's plans. "We feel we're going to come back stronger in 2021," he said.

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