Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Travel Technology

AirAsia Announces New CEO for Superapp Business

1 year ago

AirAsia on Tuesday announced the appointment of Mohamad Hafidz, who is currently the chief fintech officer, as the acting CEO of AirAsia superapp from April 1 onwards. 

With nearly 30 years in the payments industry, Hafidz, populary known as Mo, will be succeeding Amanda Woo in his new role.

Woo was appointed CEO of the superapp in May 2021, she was then the chief commercial officer.

Speaking to Skift earlier, Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, had said that AirAsia would now be killing its other operations in the superapp to focus on what he calls its bread and butter — travel.

“Now that travel has returned, we’ve shifted our focus to making the superapp very much a travel fintech superapp,” Fernandes told Skift.

In his new role, Hafidz would continue to drive the platform’s fintech vision that will further help to boost the superapp’s choices for its users and bring more revenue to the business, the company said in a release. 

Having assisted in shaping regulatory policies in several regional markets, Hafidz has been a strong advocate for payments innovation and security in the Asia Pacific region.

Hafidz’s appointment follows the recent leadership transition announcement at AirAsia Digital, which include AirAsia superapp and BigPay.

Colin Currie will be taking on dual roles as AirAsia Digital’s CEO and president, commercial of Capital A.

Currie will lead the effort to forge a closer collaboration between AirAsia superapp and BigPay to create a better user experience in travel and payment for users within the Capital A ecosystem, a company release said. 

Capital A also appointed its head of investments John Cheing as the chief financial officer for AirAsia Digital and AirAsia superapp.

Calling fintech an essential part of travel, Fernandes had earlier spoken about the role that BigPay, Capital A’s fintech arm, would play in creating lending for travel as well as for insurance.

In its fourth quarter results, the company had showed strong performances in both its superapp and fintech business.

“We are excited to be launching the next phase of growth in our digital portfolios,” Fernandes had said earlier.

Airlines

AirAsia to Now Launch a Low-Cost Carrier in Cambodia

2 years ago

AirAsia Aviation Group on Friday announced a joint venture with Cambodia-based Sivilai Asia to launch a new low-cost carrier — AirAsia Cambodia.

The airline, in which AirAsia will be the majority partner, expects to commence operations in late 2023.

Cambodia is the fifth Southeast Asian destination that AirAsia will be foraying into after Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Speaking to the media, Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, AirAsia’s parent company, said all of the group’s future airlines would be based in the region as this is an area they know best and have a strong brand presence.

In 2020, the aviation group shut down operations of AirAsia Japan and last month the company announced that it has sold off its remaining 16.67 percent stake in AirAsia India to Tatas-owned Air India.

AirAsia plans to touch pre-Covid levels by the second quarter of 2023 and in true Tony Fernandes style the Capital A CEO said he’s confident AirAsia Cambodia would be profitable “from the get go.”

“Cambodia is a market that is familiar to us and where we have deep infrastructure in place,” Fernandes said.

AirAsia Aviation Group is the largest foreign airline and the second largest airline group overall operating into Cambodia in terms of capacity, according to group CEO Bo Lingam.

Pre-pandemic, AirAsia operated 90 weekly flights from Malaysia and Thailand to Cambodia and is currently flying about 49 weekly flights.

“The value of AirAsia’s network is an insurmountable asset; it will be another flag of extensive connectivity in Cambodia and into the region, namely China, India and North Asia,” Fernandes said.

Currently, there are no direct flights between India and Cambodia.

Reacting to earlier reports of a proposed merger of AirAsia and AirAsia X, Fernandes had clarified on Monday that the group proposed to form a separate aviation group comprising all its airlines.

Airlines

AirAsia Parent CEO Wants to Pull Its Airlines Into an IAG Model

2 years ago

Malaysia’s Capital A will not be merging its airlines, but will instead move all the carriers under one existing structure, similar to how British Airways, Iberia Airline, and Aer Lingus operate under the International Airlines Group umbrella, said CEO Tony Fernandes on Monday.

AirAsia X will be renamed AirAsia Aviation Group and there will be six airlines under it — AirAsia Malaysia, AirAsia Thailand, AirAsia Philippines, and AirAsia Indonesia, as well as AirAsia X Malaysia and AirAsia X Thailand.

“We are just injecting AirAsia airlines into AirAsia X’s listing status, there is no merger,” Fernandes told the media.

He said that each airline would continue to operate independently.

Fernandes made the statement to the media on the sidelines of the launch of Capital A’s upgraded subscription service — Super +.

AirAsia had earlier launched the flight subscription service in March to provide unlimited flights to destinations across Southeast Asia. Monday’s launch will now include destinations in Japan, Korea, Australia, India, Maldives, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia.

Capital A has launched two versions of the subscription service — Super+ Lite, which covers unlimited flights across all Southeast Asian destinations very similar to the version launched in March, while the Super+ Premium includes all countries operated by the AirAsia airline group, including long-haul destinations.

The lite version is priced at $203, while the premium option comes at $524.

“Till date, over 100,000 Super+ subscribers have redeemed over 500,000 flight seats across Southeast Asian destinations,” Capital A said in a release.

While flight bookings opened from Monday, the earliest flights that subscribers could opt for was from January 1, 2023.

“This is what we have been preparing for — the return of travel, and we are excited about the reopening of markets like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and more to come in the near future,” Fernandes said.

Airlines

Tony Fernandes Steps Down as Acting Group CEO of AirAsia X

2 years ago

Tony Fernandes has stepped down as the acting group CEO of Capital A’s long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X citing “other commitments,” the airline announced in a note to investors on Monday.

“I’m now going to focus on delivering significant value to shareholders of Capital A, including the AirAsia Aviation Group, aviation services, logistics, travel, fintech and the e-commerce lifestyle platform,” Fernandes said in a press statement.

Having served as the non-independent non-executive director of AirAsia X, Fernandes stepped in to the role of acting group CEO in July this year.

Mahmood Fawzy has now been appointed as the independent non-executive director of Thai AirAsia X.

AirAsia X had entered a court-overseen debt restructuring process during the pandemic. The airline completed the debt restructuring in March.

Fernandes, in a press statement, mentioned that his job had been to restart AirAsia X and bring it back to profitability and growth after the hibernation. “I am happy that this has been accomplished with a very edifying plan for 20 aircraft for the AirAsia XGroup — 13 aircraft for AirAsia X and seven for Thai AirAsia X.”

He went on to note that following the restructuring the airline has improved the cost structure, and created a cargo business, which has contributed about 20 percent to the airline’s revenue during the pandemic and will continue to play a vital role in its recovery.

The airline in a statement in August had noted that it would be ramping up flight frequencies and would return to daily services to most destinations before 2023, with optimised aircraft utilisation of 15 hours by December.