AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes has recently told the BBC that he and his team are building what he hopes to be the next super app for the region. It is reported that he wants to rival the likes of Grab, GoJek and WeChat with an app that offers food delivery, shopping, payments, entertainment and travel.
AirAsia has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic due to restrictions on air travel and tourism worldwide. The company had recently laid off 30% of its workforce and recorded a net loss of RM992 million in Q2 2020. The group’s revenues have plunged by 96% to RM118.96 million from RM2.92 billion previously.
Tony said during the slowdown, they have spent time improving the AirAsia app and BigPay. He added that the downturn was a blessing in disguise as it allowed them to focus on their digital businesses.
The company has been looking a various ways to generate more income. This includes the expansion of its e-commerce platform OurShop, and collaboration with Agoda to expand its hotel listings for Snap.
According to Tony, AirAsia has always been a digital company and they were one of the first airlines to sell online. It is reported that AirAsia currently has a “rich database” of over 60 million users as a starting point.
He added, “I know a super app sounds like a lofty target but Grab and GoJek also started out small as food or mobility apps. Plus people also questioned me the same way when I said I wanted to start AirAsia.”
There’s no tentative timeline for the AirAsia super app and it is possible for them to consolidate most of its current products and services that are running on separate apps. Apart from airlines and hotels, there’s BigPay which offers a prepaid Mastercard with eWallet-like features, Tune Talk mobile services, Tune Protect insurance, OurShop.com e-commerce platform and Teleport which is the group’s logistics arm.