A superapp to a 'travel superapp': How AirAsia is upping the ante

A superapp to a ‘travel superapp’: How AirAsia is upping the anteSource: AirAsia

Watch out Gojek and Grab, AirAsia Ride is about to invade your territories

  • Regional CEO of AirAsia Ride Lim Chiew Shan said the ride-hailing arm of Capital A will make its foray into the Indonesian market, precisely Bali, latest by November.
  • As of Singapore, the company is in the midst of obtaining its license to operate its ride-hailing services in the city island.
  • AirAsia Ride is also eyeing the Philippines next as well as Kuching, Sarawak, a part of East Malaysia.
  • Capital A also announced that AirAsia Ride has completed two million rides within a year of operation, only four months after achieving a million rides in April this year.

AirAsia has been on a full throttle when it comes to expanding its ride-hailing arm since it was first introduced a year ago. After marking its presence well around Malaysia, AirAsia Ride is now looking into the rest of Asean with no immediate plans to rest on its laurels just yet. Following its expansion into Thailand, the Capital A-owned ride hailing service  is now on its way to set up its presence in Indonesia and Singapore.

After launching in August last year, the e-hailing service now covers all major cities in Malaysia, with over two million rides completed by 53,000 drivers, according to Capital A CEO Tony Fernandez, during a media briefing yesterday. Just four months ago, AirAsia Ride marked its one millionth ride and in under four months, the company achieved its current milestone, a momentum that is seen as a fierce competition against its regional ride-hailing rivals Gojek and Grab.

Fernandez also shared that AirAsia Ride is currently in the midst of obtaining the relevant license required to operate in Singapore, which is expected to be finalized by year end. On the other hand, its e-hailing services in Indonesia are expected to go live latest by November this year. The upcoming move is in the heels of its foray into Thailand, AirAsia Ride’s first expansion outside Malaysia.

“Speed to market is secondary to us, but we don’t want to build everything on our own. We might collaborate, or look  for inorganic opportunities where we can find the right technology and skillset,” he told reporters at the media briefing. For context, AirAsia Ride do have a goal to position itself to take on the giants and emerge as the top ride-hailing company by overcoming its competitors in five years, according to AirAsia SuperApp chief executive Amanda Woo in an interview with Nikkei earlier this year. 

For context, AirAsia Ride is part of Capital A (formerly known as AirAsia Group), co-owned by aviation tycoon and founder Tony Fernandes. He started focusing on the expansion of non airline businesses after the pandemic paralyzed air travel in February 2020. What started as  baby steps into cargo logistics and online travel agency businesses, has now turned into an empire of nonairline enterprises ranging from restaurants to food, groceries and parcel delivery as well as insurance and microlending

Additionally, after being the first in the region to offer gig delivery riders a full-time job last month, Capital A announced that it is offering all qualified AirAsia ride drivers full-time employment as well. Just like full-time riders, permanent drivers will be given basic salary, with insurance coverage and retirement savings contributions, given drivers commit themselves exclusively to AirAsia Ride and not work for competitors.

The company’s move to offer full-time employment to its drivers and riders are a part of its move to increase its headcount of drivers by year-end as a means to ensure fairer fares for both riders and drivers amidst fare surges. In the second quarter of 2022, Capital A’s digital businesses as a whole reported robust revenue growth of 192% year-on-year, driven by airasia Super App and BigPay.