AirAsia broadens digital footprint with transfer of non-airline

The aim of Group to transform itself into a fully firm makes more inroads with its latest move to shift its non-airline digital businesses to its wholly owned subsidiary, Redbeat Ventures Sdn Bhd (RBV).

The airline group announced In a filing with Bursa Malaysia (Malaysia Stock Exchange) that RBV has entered into a share sale agreement with Berhad and AirAsia Investment Ltd respectively on June 25, 2018 to acquire nine non-airline digital businesses as well as their subsidiaries.

These entities, mainly involved in providing digital-related services, include AirAsia BIG Loyalty, BigPay, travel360, ROKKI, Ourshop, RedCargo Logistics, RedBox Logistics, Touristly Travel (Vidi) and RedTix.

RBV, as the corporate venture arm of the AirAsia Group, works with technology startups and looks for investment opportunities in the high-tech and digital space.

“By placing our digital assets under Redbeat Ventures we hope to more effectively expand and monetise our digital businesses and broaden AirAsia's digital ,” said Aireen Omar, AirAsia deputy group CEO (digital, transformation and corporate services).

“The vision for RBV is to connect with the startup community globally through collaboration to foster entrepreneurship and stimulate market-driven innovation that would benefit not just AirAsia's ecosystem, but help lead the digital economy and lifestyle in ASEAN,” she added.

Last week a report from Prosyscom Tech News, quoting sources, said US private investment firm Castlelake LP has clinched a deal to acquire about 30 narrow body planes from AirAsia Group for about US$800 million (RM3.34 billion). The sale of these older aircrafts is also seen as a move by the company to monetise its assets and speed up the company's digital transformation.

According to the report, the deal is expected to be concluded in a few weeks.

Technology: Ctrip Oasis Lab, Plug and Play cooperate to support travel innovation

Ctrip Oasis Lab, the innovation centre of Ctrip Group, has forged a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-based global innovation platform for startups, corporations and investors, to revolutionise the travel industry.

The two companies said they will work together to bring about innovation by using new technologies that include artificial Intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, natural language processing, augmented reality, virtual reality and Internet of Things.

Oasis Lab is an extension of Ctrip Group's internal incubation programme that focuses on early-stage and angel-round investment projects based on their future growth potential.

The Chinese online travel services provider said in a statement that being Plug and Play's first global partner in the travel vertical enables it to have access to promising early and late stage startups worldwide, “bringing product, process and business model innovation to the travel and hospitality industry.”

“The partnership will also create a new sourcing channel for Oasis Lab to invest in early-stage startups,” it added.

Head of Ctrip Oasis Lab Margaret Feng commented the partnership maximises the company's global exposure, “and as we leverage our resources, we are able to foster innovation and enhance ideas from the travel and hospitality industry.”

Distribution: Singapore Airlines adopts tech solutions to accelerate its digital strategy

Singapore Airlines is offering travellers an enhanced shopping experience
(Image credit: Singapore Airlines)

In the last few weeks Singapore Airlines (SIA) has been rather active forming partnerships and acquiring tech solutions in its move to transform digitally and boost its retailing capabilities to offer a “differentiated experience” for its customers.

The airline is working with Amadeus to reach its customers with the right offer on any device through direct and indirect channels via its NDC-X programme by integrating Amadeus Altéa NDC and Amadeus Anytime Merchandising (AAM).

AAM allows airlines to boost revenue by creating relevant and personalised travel offers, comprising air and non-air content such as hotel, car rentals and insurance.

These solutions have been implemented since June 2018, and SIA has been part of Amadeus' NDC-X programme after coming on board with Altéa NDC last year. The latter is an end-to-end NDC shopping, booking and servicing flows enabling airlines to distribute and service their offers to third parties consistently between direct and indirect channels.

SIA senior vice president sales and marketing, Campbell Wilson, said AAM is a “key pillar' in the airline's strategy to make its offers “more relevant” and its “value more apparent” to its customers.

“One of the many components powering our personalisation capability, AAM allows the application of business rules and artificial intelligence to customise airfares and optional extras based on persona and context.”

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