AirAsia bites into food delivery industry as part of super app dream

AirAsia is biting into the food delivery industry with the official launch of airasia food. This comes after group CEO Tony Fernandes (pictured below) was pictured standing next to a bike with a food delivery bag on Instagram last week. The picture was captioned: "Getting ready to make food deliveries to your house. Check out airasia food."

airasia food tony fernandes

AirAsia's spokesperson clarified to A+M that the business was launched in May as OURFOOD but rebranded to airasia food as part of airasia.com's super app. While the airline is unable to share the ROI and revenue of airasia food, the spokesperson said the service will eventually be extended to other countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines.

Although the company is only announcing this offering now, Sabrina Khaw, head of airasia food, said its initial efforts began in March 2020 when flights were grounded due to Malaysia's Movement Control Order. Many cabin crew from the airline business joined forces to support local businesses through a food delivery service underpinned by AirAsia's logistics arm.

According to Khaw, the team served 500 restaurants all around Klang Valley. AirAsia said in the release that airasia food was officially rolled out in May and is one of the businesses under the airasia.com super app which it unveiled last month. Users are able to earn and pay with their BIG Points.

"Setting up airasia food was a natural progression for us, as we had the right logistics infrastructure and ecosystem ready to support this. And given the effects of the ongoing pandemic, we felt that a zero-commission model will work best to ensure we help as many local businesses as possible. And having close to 800 merchants already onboard airasia food is a testament to the attractiveness and effectiveness of our approach," Khaw added.

She added that airasia food also creates opportunities for the affected crew members from its airline business to become Teleport delivery partners. Following the reinstatement of the Conditional Movement Control Order until early December, airasia food said it saw a 1,150% increase in order volumes within the Klang Valley during its previous airasia.com Super Sale in October, which generated more than 500% increase in sales.

Consumers might also catch a glimpse of Fernandes when they order from airasia food, for he has also come on board as one of the Teleport delivery partners. Khaw explained that Fernandes is in the midst of obtaining his motorbike licence and will make surprise deliveries in person for its upcoming Christmas campaign.

Last month, AirAsia retrenched 10% of its 24,000 employees and Fernandes explained in a Buletin Utama TV3 interview that his responsibility is to try and get the airline back so they can come back or provide them other jobs. The airline also terminated more than 300 employees in June, according to a report by Astro AWANI. AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said then that the organisational restructure was a "viable alternative at present" due to the challenging situation.

More recently, AirAsia Japan filed for bankruptcy weeks after it ceased operations on 5 October. The company was incorporated in July 2014. According to a Bursa filing, AirAsia said the filing was "due to insolvency resulting from a demand slump in travel induced by lockdown restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic". As a result, it is unable to refund about 23,000 air tickets, Japanese news agency Kyodo News said, adding that its total liabilities were about US$208 million.

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