AirAsia adds momentum to the effort to combat wildlife trafficking

Apr 03, 2020

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 23rd March 2020–TRAFFIC recently joined forces with low-cost carrier AirAsia to equip its staff with the knowledge and tools to help fight wildlife trafficking through the aviation sector.

With support from the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership, TRAFFIC held a talk for AirAsia staff at their RedQ Headquarters on the scale of illegal wildlife trade and the risks that these activities pose to the aviation industry. 

The talk was streamed live for staff in AirAsia’s hub offices outside of Malaysia, providing a unique opportunity for AirAsia’s staff in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, India, and Japan to learn how they can take action to address this issue. Staff picked up tips on how to spot wildlife traffickers and learned how they can help to stop these activities. 

The event, which coincided with World Wildlife Day, also included an exhibition showing some of the most common species trafficked by air and the smuggling methods traffickers use to conceal them. 

“This event was an expansion of AirAsia’s sustainability efforts to raise awareness on the key issues and challenges surrounding illegal wildlife trade. We remain dedicated to this and will continue to train our staff to improve the detection of illegal activities in our industry. AirAsia is committed to playing our part to combat this issue through more collaboration with the ROUTES partnership,” said Shasha Ridzam, Head of Government Relations, Global Affairs, and Sustainability, AirAsia Group.

"We were delighted to be given the opportunity to talk to Air Asia’s staff and work with the Group on wildlife trafficking. Under the ROUTES Partnership, we have produced a suite of training resources for use by industry to support their efforts to combat wildlife trafficking by air and these will be ideal to support remote training of staff.  It is exciting see transport personnel recognizing that they have a key role to play in disrupting wildlife trafficking activities," said Renee Yee, TRAFFIC’s Training and Capacity Building Officer. 

The day before the event, TRAFFIC delivered role-specific training for 50 staff from Teleport, AirAsia’s cargo and logistics subsidiary and Ground Team Red, the group’s ground handling services provider under the ROUTES Partnership. Participants were taught how to recognize wildlife trafficking and how they should respond, and report suspected incidences.  Together with the ROUTES partnership, AirAsia is working towards integrating more training for other staff who are most likely to encounter and identify possible instances of wildlife trafficking, including cabin crew and guest services.

Last November, AirAsia launched a special ‘Save Our Malayan Tiger' livery in support of conservation and sustainability. To spread the message among its guests in ASEAN and beyond, AirAsia’s in-flight announcements now include a stern warning on wildlife trafficking.

Soon, the ROUTES Partnership will be releasing the latest analysis of air transport wildlife seizures in the report “Runway to Extinction: Wildlife Trafficking in the Air Transport Sector.” The report examines the latest trends, transit routes, and methods of wildlife traffickers in six world regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania.