Since the start of the pandemic, AirAsia has been venturing into various contested sectors like food delivery, groceries, and even video streaming. Now, Tony Fernandes announced that it will be diving into the ride-hailing scene, reported The Edge. While the launch date of the service is yet to be confirmed, Fernandes seems to be confident, telling Malay Mail that he is unfazed by ride-hailing giants like Grab.
With a goal of becoming the Asean super app, it might make sense for AirAsia. But while they’ve pretty much dominated the low-cost airline industry here, their other services still need some work before consumers become confident enough to use them.
It’s been almost a year since the launch of the food delivery service, which needs to be improved in many areas to overtake Grab and Foodpanda’s level of popularity. Firstly, they need to work on incorporating more restaurants in less central areas. For someone who lives in Alam Damai, Cheras, most of the categories like halal, healthy, dessert, and vegetarian have less than 10 merchants. Residents of Petaling Jaya enjoy much more variety.
If a lack of riders is behind AirAsia Food’s low accessibility, then it is something they’d need to address before going into ride-hailing. Consumers may want the confidence that they can actually get the service anytime, anywhere, be it for food and groceries or ride-hailing.
Given that AirAsia Food charges restaurant owners a low 10% commission, we can expect that they’ll offer similar incentives to attract ride-hailing drivers. However, the low commission prompted AirAsia to drop the maps feature that allowed consumers to track real-time locations of riders.
A difficult start
The loading time is another problem. It takes around 2 seconds, much more than with established apps like Grab or Foodpanda. Also, clicking on a merchant, will sometimes direct you to the app’s home page instead of the store’s page. For AirAsia to become a super app, even the smallest inefficiencies or inconveniences will have to be ironed out.
Despite the limitations and technical difficulties, the company has the potential to grow their brand into the gold standard they aspire to be. Being a household name will no doubt give them an extra boost in visibility and public interest.
“I’ve got eight years of Grab doing it to learn from,” said Fernandes. “I don’t have to waste all that money, with experimentation, building technology, training drivers and training the market how to order, they have done it all for me.”
AirAsia won’t stop here. Other ventures in the pipeline include drone deliveries and air taxis.
This article was originally published by Vulcan Post.