AirAsia’s plans to become the “Amazon of online travel” may be ambitious but they are “very doable”, according to the company’s deputy CEO of technology and digital.

Speaking at the Skift Forum Asia in Singapore, Aireen Omar explained that the company’s confidence stems from the deep store of data which it has amassed over many years of operating flights across Southeast Asia.

The low-cost carrier has been focusing much of its attention on “building new business areas that will complement the core business” of flying, in moves that will see AirAsia become more of a data-driven company.

“There’s a lot more we can do, as opposed to just flying people around. We have so much data – we started carrying about close to a hundred million passengers this year in Southeast Asia itself,” Omar said, adding that visitor traffic to the AirAsia website is “about 60 million a market” of which half are unique.

Omar is convinced the company has what it takes to reinvent itself as a digital business, nearly two decades after being the first in the region to issue airline e-tickets. In February, it opened a technology centre in Bengaluru – often referred to as ‘India’s Silicon Valley’ – to streamline its digital assets and create new products and enhancements for the company.

But beyond providing services as a commercial airline, the company has its eye on the wider ecosystem of travel such as logistics and retail. (For more, read WARC’s report: AirAsia eyes ‘Amazon of travel’ opportunity as it invites others into its ecosystem.)

Teleport, AirAsia’s cross-border cargo and logistics business has since expanded beyond AirAsia’s own network. In February, the company signed an interline agreement with Air New Zealand.

Then there is BigPay, AirAsia’s mobile payment platform which Omar described as “a digital bank” and revolving around the three key areas of a peer-to-peer digital wallet, foreign exchange, and lending.

These new ventures are all in line with the company’s mission to build out an ecosystem that can “leverage each other very well in upsell across different platforms” on AirAsia.

“It is no longer about the aircraft but the data, and there are a lot of new business opportunities we can build around it,” said Omar. “We want to work these assets more.”

Sourced from WARC, Economic Times, Air Cargo News