(Updated)

Tony Fernandes says AirAsia 'can survive' just on domestic traffic

Tony Fernandes says AirAsia 'can survive' just on domestic traffic
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 9): AirAsia Group Bhd group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the budget airline "can survive" just on domestic traffic, which is about 50% of the group’s business, Nikkei Asia reported today.

"That is very different from Singapore Air (Singapore Airlines) or JAL (Japan Airlines Co Ltd) or ANA (All Nippon Airways Co Ltd),” Fernandes was quoted as saying.

At the same time, Covid-19-related disruptions can actually make doing business easier, Nikkei Asia reported, quoting Fernandes.

It was reported that it took Fernandes seven years to get the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route for AirAsia Group.

“(But) it took me seven weeks to open AirAsia food in Singapore," Fernandes said.

For all the pain due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was reported that Fernandes concluded this a "once-in-a-lifetime chance where you can really pivot". 

It was reported that AirAsia Group under Fernandes' leadership is pivoting into fintech and payments in a big way. 

It was reported that the group is working on opening a new neobank in Malaysia and Singapore, by tapping into the region's biggest loyalty programme

"This fintech footprint is expanding to Singapore and soon to Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. 

"AirAsia's logistics arm has also rolled out a digital network to modernise air cargo using distributed ledger blockchain technology, called Freightchain,” Nikkei Asia reported.

Logistics, it turns out, "is the real jewel in the crown that I never really saw", Fernandes said.

Chong Jin Hun