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AirAsia used COVID-19 pandemic to relook businesses: Fernandes

AirAsia used COVID-19 pandemic to relook businesses: Fernandes

File photo of an AirAsia X Airbus A340 passenger jet. (File photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Group is recovering well from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which it looked at opportunities it had not been able to act on earlier and accelerated its digital transformation, group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said.

The group saw the situation as an opportunity to recharge its business, and started to focus on ASEAN, relook its cost structure and do away with businesses that did not make sense, he added.

“With digital platforms such as the super app, fintech and food business going pretty well, we are now at the end of the tunnel and excited on the diversified businesses that are coming in,” he said during a virtual session titled Road to Recovery: Turning Crisis Into Opportunity at the Youth Economic Forum (YEF) 2021.

READ: COVID-19: AirAsia trials PPE suits for cabin crew

Regarding efforts in diversification, he said the group also planned to launch an air taxi service in one-and-a-half years' time, as well as an e-hailing service in April.

“The air taxi will have a pilot and four seats. At the moment, we have our team working on this upcoming service by AirAsia,” he explained.

Teleport, the logistics venture of AirAsia Digital, will also launch the Urban Drone Delivery Sandbox in partnership with the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre. 

The drone pilot project for the delivery of goods from the group’s e-commerce platforms will be carried out through a six-month phased approach in Cyberjaya.

Fernandes said Teleport would make it faster, cheaper and more accessible for goods to be moved across Malaysia and worldwide.

READ: Malaysia's AirAsia X assures recovery for lessors in new restructuring proposal

He also expressed optimism on the gradual opening of international borders.

“We will start seeing some border opening in July and August, and hopefully that would return world travel to normal.

The budget carrier’s net loss widened to RM851.78 million (S$209 million) in the third quarter ended on Sep 30, 2020, compared with RM51.44 million a year earlier, but it was lower than the RM992.89 million loss recorded in the second quarter.

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