So AirAsia Is an Internet Company Now?

AirAsia Bhd takes in about 20% of its income from non-airfare sources—charges for goods and services such as in-flight meals, hotel/car rentals and also revenue from joint-ventures. To take this a step further, company chairman Tony Fernandes has just announced that they will be expanding into e-commerce in the near future, a move that has inspired him to label AirAsia an Internet company.

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While that title may be a bit of stretch, AirAsia has strengthened their role over the years as an airline that makes use of the latest technology trends to remain competitive and diversify their services. Examples of this are check-in via mobile app and a possible partnership with a start-up that works with facial recognition—something the airline may want to utilize to ease boarding efficiency.

As for ongoing ventures, Digital News Asia (DNA) reports, “The AirAsia Group has invested in or kicked off several ventures, such as AAE Travel (a joint-venture between AirAsia and Expedia); the Asian Aviation Centre of Excellence; Think Big Digital (a joint-venture between AirAsia and Tune Money which operates the AirAsia BIG loyalty programme); and it also has a 40% stake in Tune Money.”

Several other ventures are in the works as well, all part of the company’s strategy to maintain a competitive edge over the numerous other carriers in Southeast Asia, not to mention making up for dips in profits following the Java Sea crash on December 28th.

Regarding expansion into e-commerce, a brief announcement was made at the DNA What’s Next conference on September 29th. Once launched, their e-commerce offshoot would focus on online shopping and social gaming. Fernandes gave no other details but commented that more would be revealed in due time.