Lots of companies have plenty of data at their disposal to improve operations and personalize services. Whether AirAsia has the wherewithal to become a much broader e-commerce platform is a very open question.
There was no backtracking from AirAsia in its plan to branch out into selling other airlines on its platform, financial services, and more experiences.
Asked at Skift Forum Asia in Singapore on Monday if becoming the Amazon of travel is overly ambitious, Aireen Omar, AirAsia’s deputy CEO, technology and digital said it’s “ambitious, but I think it’s very doable.”
Another AirAsia executive recently made the declaration that the airline could become the “Amazon of travel.”
Omar argued that AirAsia’s wealth of data from such things as its bookings systems and passenger management equip it to improve revenue management and personalization, and to make its operation more efficient.
The idea is to provide a seamless journey for passengers and to build new business areas for the airline beyond its core flying.
Omar said AirAsia has been approaching other airlines about selling tickets, and that most are not afraid of doing that because they can take advantage of AirAsia’s network and data.
Although AirAsia is interested in offering innovative payment systems, Omar said the airline would not use crypto currencies because their value fluctuates greatly, and AirAsia is interested in engendering consumer trust.
Omar made a pitch for the greater inclusion of women in the airline industry. She said around 6 percent of AirAsia’s engineers are women, and so are about 10 percent of its pilots.
Schools new to open up their curriculum to encourage women to become data scientists, for example, and to work for airlines.
Omar is responsible for AirAsia’s digital strategy, promoting innovation throughout the group and encouraging collaboration across AirAsia’s businesses and markets. She oversees large, strategic group-wide initiatives to help transform AirAsia into a global, cloud-driven product and platform company.
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Photo credit: Aireen Omar, the deputy group CEO of the AirAsia Group for technology and digital, speaks with Skift Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan at Skift Asia Forum in Singapore on May 27, 2019. Richard Lai / Skift