AirAsia plans launch of Flying-Taxi business in 2022, says CEO Tony Fernandes

Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia Group Berhad’s Chief Executive Officer has said that the company is seeking to launch a flying-taxi business as soon as next year.

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“We are working on that right now,” Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s CEO, and co-founder said Saturday, according to Bloomberg. “I think we are about a year and a half away from launching.”

As part of the Youth Economic Forum, Fernandes was speaking in an online discussion.

With traveling almost coming to a complete halt during the pandemic-inflicted year of 2020, the airline business took quite a hit; AirAsia has opted to expand, seeing a boom in business. It launched a “super app” last year that is a one-stop app for entertainment, shopping, payments, and travel services.

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“We took it as an opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to recast your business, re-look at things,” the CEO said.

AirAsia is also working on its own e-hailing services that it expects to start in April, Fernandes said. The information he provided about the flying taxis, which the company hopes to begin providing next year, will come with as many as four seats and be powered by a quadcopter.

Separately on Saturday, the company announced a partnership with the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre, a state agency, to develop an urban drone delivery service.

While AirAsia is not sitting back and looking for further opportunities to expand its services into new areas, Fernandes has an optimistic viewpoint that air travel will soon rebound with vaccination programs’ rollout. The Kuala Lumpur-based company offers low-cost flights linking 22 countries, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I hope interstate travel will start in the next two to three weeks” within Malaysia, he said. He expects that by July or August, international borders will start opening.

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