AirAsia plans to raise capital for digital venture

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – AirAsia Group is looking to raise capital to fund its digital venture arm, AirAsia Digital, said Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

He did not disclose the amount of the capital but said it need not be huge to make the whole digital journey successful.

“It could be convertible debt or equity. We built all of these (referring to AirAsia’s digital initiatives) on our own capital so far, just like how we built AirAsia,” he told a media briefing yesterday.

Also present were Group Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and AirAsia Digital (previously known as Redbeat Ventures) President Aireen Omar.

According to Fernandes, the airline secured some debt capital which would benefit its logistics arm, Teleport, and its food and beverage business, Santan.

Kamarudin said the business diversification into an all-in-one digital travel and lifestyle platform enabled the group to cushion the impact of the shortfall in earnings following the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the compensation would only be for a short term but enough for the group to survive. “I don’t think anything can compensate for the shortfall. By the time the market is open, the aviation industry will go back to its normal days and the digital business will be expanded. It will be another core business. It can be as big as the aviation business,” said Kamarudin. Meanwhile, Fernandes said the group planned to launch a new Kuching-Langkawi route and one domestic route in Thailand.

He added that the group would also expand its Santan outlet to Manila by the next quarter while that of New York, the United Kingdom (UK) and China next year.