Malaysia-based low cost carrier AirAsia’s parent company Capital A is planning to launch a ride-hailing firm in the Philippines to challenge Grab, its Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said on Monday, according to ABS-CBN News.

The group is already offering ride-hailing services in other markets such as Malaysia.

“We want to launch our ride-hailing services here and provide some competition to Grab we think we will be more affordable and obviously we can make a huge dent at airports,” he was quoted as saying.

Fernandes, who is currently in Manila, also told the TV station he is in the country to meet Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista.

He said the venture would be launched “soon”. He added that the group’s ride-hailing business model is unique since it plans to hire full-time drivers who are entitled to benefits such as insurance.

Around up to 2,000 jobs can be generated in the Philippines with the venture and other businesses in the next two to three years, he said, possibly more if the venture succeeds.

Fernandes also said he would meet a local conglomerate to discuss a potential partnership for Capital A’s fintech venture Big Pay.

Capital A has launched e-hailing services, AirAsia Ride in the capital city Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August 2021 in a bid to take on prominent regional ride-hailing giant Grab with more competitive fares for customers and lower commission on drivers.

The company said it plans to rollout the e-hailing services in other countries including Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore, according to its statement then.

Fernandes said in an interview in June 2022 that the group is planning New York listings for its low-cost AirAsia airline and a digital super app.

Capital A, previously known as AirAsia Group, has been aggressively building its digital businesses and super app over the last three years as most of its planes were grounded due to travel restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The group has hoped to build its super app, modeling regional tech giants such as Grab’s and Gojek’s super apps which offer a variety of services including ride-hailing, food delivery, and payment services.

Tony Fernandes plans US listings for AirAsia airline & super app – report