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AirAsia digital pulling things together

September 25, 20204 minute read
AirAsia digital

Although was first set up in 1996, by 2001, the airline had accumulated debts of MYR 40 million (US$11 million). Seeing an opportunity, Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun picked up the company for MYR 1 with its debts and two B737-300 aircraft and rolled up their sleeves. Though neither had any experience in the airline industry, they managed to turn the company around after taking over on 8th September 2001, making a profit in 2002.

In many ways, the company has always been ‘AirAsia digital’. The airline went digital immediately, forgoing agents to sell their tickets exclusively online. This writer made her first ever online flight booking to fly one of those two planes to Langkawi in July 2002.

AirAsia digital
The position today


AirAsia digital not just travel

With its core business as a low-cost airline, AirAsia has already strongly developed the digital aspects of the business. From online booking and payment to check-in, bag drop, cargo, you can do everything online. Even check-in and printing of bag tags at the airport is now contactless, very useful in the current Covid-19 pandemic. This strong emphasis on digital applications was already moving the company towards pulling all their associated ventures under one umbrella. The Covid-19 challenges have just hastened the processes and members of the media were invited to a media briefing on 23rd September 2020. Fittingly, media were present both physically and via Zoom.

AirAsia digital

AirAsia Digital is the rebranded digital venture arm of AirAsia Group. Launched in 2018, it was previously known as RedBeat Ventures, under the care of Aireen Omar, AirAsia Bhd CEO. Aireen has been with AirAsia since 2006 and has an impressive background in Finance and Economics. Although she was present at the Media briefing, her speech set the tone through a digital presentation where she outlined the various arms of AirAsia Digital. After introducing AirAsia Digital, she handed over to Group CEO, Tony Fernandes.

So what’s here for travellers?

We’ve become used to booking our flight tickets online. We can add accommodation, activities and reserve our seats, meals and the amount of baggage we need. We pay using our preferred method, online. AirAsia has been offering these and more as they’ve grown over the years.

…. AirAsia Digital leverages the Group’s physical and digital assets, to create an ecosystem of businesses that connect with our customers in their everyday life, transforming the AirAsia brand into a fully fledged digital company – now much more than just an airline. Tony Fernandes

He went on to flesh out the details of the three focus areas:

  • Platform
    • These are all the travel related areas noted above, including special offers and the food you pre-order for your flight
  • Logistics & e-commerce, including
    • The recently rebranded AirAsia shop
      • available for both travellers and home shoppers (the items on offer are slightly different)
      • Working closely with Teleport for deliveries
    • Food services including on-ground Santan restaurants
      • Santan is AirAsia’s food arm
      • available for eat-in, take-away and delivery
    • Fresh Food
      • supporting farmers with a fair price
      • saving middleman charges
  • Financial Services.
    • including Big Pay , BIG Rewards and BIG Xchange
      • TIP: Make sure you log in to book your flights, you’ll get an immediate Member discount
      • If you have BIG rewards points you’ll have the option to use them to offset the cost of your booking
        • Transfer points from your credit card to save more, with BIG Xchange
      • Pay with BigPay and save card fees

AirAsia digital

Within the three focus areas, there are currently five portfolio companies:

Use one login and you can access all of these features to make bookings, purchases and payments.

    • Platform for travel and lifestyle products with the aim to become an everyday super app
  • Teleport
  • BigPay
    • Fintech company focusing on payment solutions, remittance, lending
      • coming soon, a financial marketplace/virtual bank
    • One of the biggest loyalty programmes in Asean with a comprehensive travel and lifestyle ecosystem
    • Big Rewards, BIG Xchange
  • Santan:
    • Farm-to-table concept for Asean fast-food serving AirAsia’s popular inflight meals with numerous franchise outlets in development

AirAsia works exclusively on a Google platform. Get more information or make purchases or bookings on the AirAsia website or mobile app.

©images ET

# AirAsia, AirAsia digital, AirAsia Shop, digital solutions, Teleport
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