AirAsia ride-hailing – to use Toyota Vellfire, Alphard?

Chief executive officer of AirAsia Group Tony Fernandes has shown a glimpse of the company’s forthcoming endeavour with ride-hailing, as shared on Fernandes’ social media accounts, including on LinkedIn.

Pictured here is a line-up of 10 MPVs comprised of the Toyota Vellfire and Alphard, suggesting the vehicles that will serve in the AirAsia fleet.

Fernandes wrote that “ride-hailing AirAsia-style will be different from Grab and Uber,” (the latter having departed the Malaysian market following Grab’s acquisition of US-based tech firm’s Southeast Asian business in March 2018), with the CEO pointing to a “different culture, different cabin and more.”

Fernandes noted in his post that AirAsia has “always been a delivery company, delivering (by plane) people to destinations the world over, [and is now] delivering food, packages, fintech products and even online education. Now hitting the road,” the note by Fernandes read, without stating further details or a specific timeline.

The AirAsia push for ride-hailing and delivery services enters a challenging time as the Malaysian economy manoeuvres around restrictions aimed at containing the pandemic; to that end, the Malaysian government offered a RM60 million allocation last year for the 120,000 ride-hailing drivers in the country, of whom 99.8% received their one-off RM500 assistance last June.

Another one-off injection of RM500 for more than 100,000 drivers of taxis, school buses, tour buses, rental cars and e-hailing vehicles was offered earlier this month.

Separate from its road transport ride-sharing endeavour, AirAsia revealed in March that it has plans for a flying taxi service to be readied as soon as next year, according to a Bloomberg report at the time.

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