AirAsia digital businesses to become Asean’s leading super app

Group Bhd’s non-airline digital businesses is on the right track to becoming Asean’s digital travel and lifestyle platform as it meets strong consumer demands.

Its super is now considered one of the region’s top three online travel agencies (OTA) while AirAsia’s e-wallet BigPay is set to become the first virtual bank and its delivery service Teleport is strengthening.

During the group’s first quarter of 2021 (1Q21) financial performance announcement on May 27, AirAsia super posted a 45% year-on-year (YoY) increase in its revenue to RM10 million supported by solid growth of products and services available on the platform.

Teleport’s revenue has also tripled compared to its 1Q20 performance.

According to AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, just as they revolutionised air travel 20 years ago with their low-cost carrier, AirAsia is now disrupting and democratising the lifestyle industry again through the development of their super app with over 17 travel and products leveraging off one another.

“In just over a year we are now one of the top three leading online travel agencies (OTAs) in Asean based on website traffic, with over 100 million average page views monthly on airasia.com.

“In the future, when travel resumes in our key markets, we can guarantee best value prices for our flight and hotel packages because we own our own airline,” he explained in a press release today.

Expansion of its popular products and services to its Asean markets for its super app is in AirAsia’s pipeline.

“We are working on expanding our health services in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, while offering SNAP hotel and accommodation deals in Vietnam and Singapore in the near future,” said Fernandes.

He also said that Teleport not only provides the usual deliveries but has now been delivering vaccines all over Malaysia and the Asean region. Hence, it has created more than 4,000 delivery driver jobs in 17 key markets.

“We are also looking forward to converting passenger planes into freighters in the coming months to cater for unprecedented cargo demand,” he said.

Fernandes added that the group has plans to improve its BigPay e-wallet to become the best virtual bank in Asean.

“We are tapping into the full potential of our loyalty platform BIG Rewards, to provide the best range for rewards and redemption in Asean and beyond.

“Through our digital ecosystem, we have already created thousands of jobs and supported more than 3,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia.

“Our training centre, AirAsia Academy (currently known as Redbeat Academy), offers affordable digital and tech training courses to equip not only our own employees, but also SMEs and members of the public, with skills to bridge the technology gap in Malaysia and beyond in this ever changing digital world,” he said.

Apart from AirAsia’s digital services, its other non-airline businesses such as AirAsia Food, AirAsia Fresh, AirAsia Shop and its Santan franchise restaurants are also penetrating into new markets.

“As we continue to expand our digital footprint in Malaysia and other Asean countries, our contribution in the region will only increase and become more significant from here onwards.

“We saw the crisis as an opportunity to use the downtime in flying caused by the pandemic to leverage  the strength of our database of over 60 million customers and to focus on developing new non airline revenue streams in the key areas of e-commerce, fintech and logistics,” Fernandes commented.

AirAsia has more innovations to roll out such as the ride-hailing “AirAsia Ride”, which will be launched in the coming months, as well as the potential of drone delivery.

The group is also planning for electric or hydronic aeroplanes to meet consumer’s sustainability needs.

“In the airline business, Asia Digital Engineering (ADE) is set to become one of the region’s best value aircraft maintenance and overhaul providers for both short term line maintenance and longer-term base maintenance, a space previously dominated by Singapore-based maintenance and overhaul companies (MROs).

“I firmly believe ADE will become the leading aircraft maintenance/overhaul company in the region in the near future with significant potential growth opportunities in Asean and beyond with service excellence and the lowest cost base,” he said.

AirAsia is also working to launch more contactless technologies to make flying a seamless and hygienic experience when it resumes.

This includes a digital passport called Scan2Fly where passengers can upload required medical documentation and have it verified in real time online, before heading to the airport.

The group would also be introducing FACES, its biometric facial recognition technology at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) and it will be rolled out across all key destinations.

“There is a silver lining to every crisis and the best thing to come out of this pandemic is our recovery as a stronger, more resilient travel and lifestyle platform – not solely reliant on airfares alone anymore,” said Fernandes.

The “new look” AirAsia would be embarking on an exciting new phase of growth, with the right focus and foundations to better meet the needs of the digital revolution.

Fernandes stressed that they would remain true to their promise of delivering high quality service serving the underserved by making it affordable to fly, stay, shop, eat and upskill.

“Looking out for the everyday people is what we do best and we aim to continue to support them, not only in the major cities, but also in the smaller cities we serve, where many people are struggling the most and access to products and services are more limited.”

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