Malaysia’s AirAsia Group Berhad has on Friday announced a name change for the group holding company to become Capital A Berhad, to reflect the group’s new core business strategy as an investment holding company with a portfolio of synergistic travel and lifestyle businesses, which have rapidly transformed the AirAsia brand into much more than just an airline.

Capital A said in a statement that by 2026 it aims to achieve amongst others: group airlines connecting over 1 billion people in Asean; the engineering division (ADE) becomes an industry leader for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in Southeast Asia; airasia super app to be the super app of choice in Asean; 10 million monthly active users for BigPay; 10 percent market share in Southeast Asia for Teleport, in the logistics and e-commerce industry; 5 million sign ups for edutech arm AirAsia Academy; over 21 million monthly orders on airasia grocer.

“This is not just about unveiling a new logo. It’s a significant milestone that marks a new era for the Group. This announcement reinforces we are not just an airline anymore,” said Capital A Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes.

While the airline will always underpin the AirAsia brand, he said that it has long been his firm intention, well before Covid hit, to leverage the strong data that the group has built up over 20 years and incorporate industry-leading new technologies to offer a broad range of products and services, over and above selling just airfares.

“The pandemic has allowed us to accelerate that strategy. Our brand has continuously evolved based on driving innovation and meeting ever changing consumer demand. The strategy behind the change of name is to introduce a new corporate identity that better reflects the Group’s core businesses today and its future undertakings, in tandem with our rapid transformation from an airline into a one-stop digital travel and lifestyle services group. We believe that the new company name will also further enhance the marketability of our products and boost the success of our group for the long haul,

“Essentially Capital A is an investment company with a broad portfolio of businesses which all deliver the best value at the lowest cost, supported by strong data built up over two decades. We also have one of Asia’s leading brands to ride on, a strong people-first culture and an underlying promise of remaining committed to serving the underserved in all that we do. Just like what the airline has done from day one, all of our different lines of business will deliver the same strategy that is underscored by doing what we do best – making travel and everyday lifestyle services affordable, accessible and inclusive to all,” he said.

According to him, the group is now delivering more products and services under one umbrella than any other brand in Asean and with access to over 700 million people in the region, and he foresees incredible growth opportunities for the group’s brand across many different industries in all of its core markets.

“We have 16 products and services on our airasia super app, providing not only the best value flight and travel deals but also everyday lifestyle needs, from food to retail and e-commerce, to same day delivery, ride hailing and much more. We are already one of the top three online travel agents (OTAs) in Asean and our super app is on track to become the leading lifestyle app in the region very soon,

“All of our portfolio businesses are well on the way to becoming industry leaders in their respective fields across Southeast Asia, including BigPay, our aircraft engineering division Asia Digital Engineering (ADE) and logistics venture Teleport,” he said.

According to him, the group is already has over 50 million monthly unique visitors on its super app which has been recognised as a tech unicorn in under two years, and its fintech business BigPay, has been given a significant injection of $100 million from South Korea conglomerate SK Group and overall it has raised over MYR2.5 billion ($600 million) to date through its fundraising strategy.

“Following strong consumer and investor support for our transformation strategy, we now set our sights on further capital raising initiatives for the airasia super app, Teleport and ADE which will be announced in due course,” he said.

While Capital A will be the new group holding company name, he said that one thing that is not changing is the AirAsia brand name for its airlines, which is one of the strongest brands in Asia and provides a solid platform for all of its other products and services to leverage from each other.

“Even though the last two years have been the most difficult and disrupted years in the history of commercial aviation, I welcome the year ahead with much greater confidence. Domestic air travel has already started to rebound in our key markets. While there may be some delays for international flights to return to pre-Covid levels due to the Omicron variant, I believe this will be short-lived as many global health experts are also predicting, alongside accelerated vaccines and booster shots as well as the world gradually learning to live with Covid. I am hopeful borders will reopen gradually throughout 2022 and we will see a return to normal capacity for our international services by the middle to third quarter of this year,” he said.

He said that over the past two years the group has spent the downturn in flying building a solid foundation for a viable and successful future, which is not solely reliant on airfares alone, and Capital A signals an exciting new era for the group’s airlines and all of its other portfolio businesses within the group as it embarks on a significant new growth phase.

“Importantly, the best is yet to come. We have pivoted, we have transformed and we have a five year plan in place which will see non airline revenues contributing around 50 percent of overall Group revenue by 2026. Once the airlines return to pre-Covid levels in the near future all of our other lines of business will benefit significantly and will all soar to new heights in tandem with one another,” he said.

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