AirAsia—controlled by tycoon Tony Fernandes—has launched its ride-hailing and food delivery services across Malaysia as the loss-making airline adds more services to become one of Southeast Asia’s leading super apps.
The ride-hailing service will initially be available in Kuala Lumpur and the broader Klang Valley area before rolling out to other parts of the country, the company said on Tuesday. Separately, AirAsia said it expanded its food delivery services—which it launched in the Klang Valley at the height of the pandemic last year—to Johor Bahru and Malacca, north of Singapore, where the company also started food deliveries in March.
“We have been championing air mobility by flying over 700 million people around the world over the past 20 years,” Amanda Woo, CEO of Airasia’s super app, said in a statement. “With Airasia ride, we aim to empower people to move around more easily, making full use of the Airasia Super App technology to enjoy amazing experiences.”
AirAsia has been building its digital businesses as the airline grapples with the lingering impact of the pandemic-induced slump in the global travel industry. Besides ride-hailing and food deliveries, AirAsia has ventured into e-commerce, fintech and logistics as part of plans to develop a super app anchored on travel and leisure to compete with Southeast Asia’s tech giants such as Grab, GoTo and Sea Group.
Earlier this month, SK Group—controlled by South Korean billionaire Chey Tae-won—agreed to invest $100 million in AirAsia’s fintech unit BigPay, providing the company fresh funds to support its digital initiatives across Southeast Asia. Last week, AirAsia unit Teleport bought Penang-based food delivery firm Delivereat. In July, the airline agreed to take over Gojek’s operations in Thailand in a stock swap that will give the Indonesian ride-hailing giant a 4.8% stake in AirAsia Digital.
AirAsia is pivoting into digital businesses amid mounting losses as Covid-19 travel restrictions drag passenger and cargo traffic lower. AirAsia has been in the red for seven consecutive quarters, posting a net loss of 767.4 million ringgit ($182 million) in the first quarter.