AirAsia targets 100 million passengers in 2019

Market sources did not rule out a headline-grabbing finale. AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes has left Farnborough in suspense over whether he would fly in from Malaysia to confirm an order for Airbus A330neo planes or defect to the Boeing 787

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Group is out to monetise its digital businesses and broaden the group’s digital footprint this year but has no plan to open more new airlines over the next three years.

The airline wants to focus on growing its existing business especially in Indonesia and Philippines.

“As 2019 approaches I would like to confirm that AirAsia will not be opening up any more new airlines for the next 3 years,’’ AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (pic) said in his series of posts on Twitter yesterday.

He added that “after Vietnam, we will focus on what we have. Focus this year is to make Indonesia and Philippines very profitable.’’

He added that the group has a “great’’ franchise in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

There is where “all the major population and growing economies (are), coupled with two great countries (India and China) to enable us to cover the world,’’ he added.

Fernandes added that he was confident the airline’s operations in India and Japan would be profitable in 2021.

This year Fernandes is hoping that his airline group would be able to carry over 100 million passengers.

When contacted he merely said it is “around there”.

In the first nine months of 2018, the airline group carried 61.4 million passengers across its network. The target set for 2018 was 90 million passengers.

“We are on track to achieve a group load factor target of 85%,’’ Fernandes had said earlier.

With fuel prices falling, the airline also expects to maintain its cost this year and hopefully offers more low fares to travellers. It was reported that AirAsia group has hedged 48% for Brent at US$67.24 bbl for the first quarter (1Q19) and 27% for 2Q19 at US$65.40 bbl to manage volatility of fuel prices.

Turning to the digital side of the business, Fernandes said in a tweet “this is the year people will begin to see our strength in digital’’.

He would not go into details but earlier he has been talking about the BigPay app, which is a digital alternative to bank accounts and it comes with a card that allows users to use and spend it anywhere in the world.

AirAsia Group has in mid-December completed the transfer of its non-digital businesses to Redbeat Ventures, its wholly owned subsidiary. The digital-related services include AirAsia BIG Loyalty, BigPay, travel360, ROKKI, Ourshop, RedCargo Logistics, RedBox Logistics, Vidi and RedTix.

That is the first step towards monetising the digital business and allow AirAsia to broaden the digital footprint.

In an announcement to Bursa Malaysia earlier, AirAsia deputy group CEO (digital, transformation and corporate services) Aireen Omar said that by placing the digital assets under Redbeat Ventures, they hope to more effectively expand and monetise the digital businesses and broaden AirAsia’s digital footprint.

The vision for Redbeat Ventures was to connect with the start-up community globally through collaboration to foster entrepreneurship and stimulate market-driven innovation that would benefit not just AirAsia’s ecosystem but help lead the digital economy and lifestyle in Asean.

Redbeat Ventures will work with tech start-ups and look out for investment opportunities in the high-tech and digital space to remain competitive and relevant in these rapidly changing commercial and technological environments.

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