Malaysian budget carrier and Southeast Asia’s largest airline group AirAsia may turn its website into an online travel agency (OTA), according to the South China Morning Post.
AirAsia plans to offer plane tickets of non-competing airlines, as well as car rental and accommodation packages for regional destinations, to the 65 million customers who visit its website each month. The airline says it has 50 million repeat customers.
Last month, AirAsia yanked its flight tickets from Traveloka after the airline’s tickets disappeared from the Indonesian ticketing and hotel booking portal in February. At the time, AirAsia commerce director Rifai Taberi said that he there were “indications of unfair competition,” and that online travel agencies were under pressure to remove AirAsia’s tickets from their sites.
If AirAsia proceeds with its plans, it will be running up against Indonesian operators Traveloka, Tiket.com, Nusatrip, and Ezytravel; as well as global travel booking services like Booking.com, Expedia, and Skyscanner.
According to Google and Temasek’s latest report on Southeast Asia’s digital economy, online travel is expected to become a USD 78 billion industry in the region by 2025.