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AirAsia chief about to turn airline website into big OTA

April 10, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Malaysian cut-price carrier AirAsia looks likely to turn its website into a major online travel agent (OTA) – having built traffic on the website to 65 million customers a month.

AirAsia may soon start using its website to sell the tickets of “non-competing” carriers, a stipulation which presumably would exclude the likes of Jetstar and Scoot.

AirAsia’s founder and chief executive, Tony Fernandes, told the South China Morning Post that he had a “phenomenally strong platform that I [can] open for business to sell other content”.

Fernandes, speaking after a Credit Suisse Asia Investment Conference, added: “We can be as strong as any online travel agent in terms of selling hotel content.”

Other sources have indicated that the idea is a goer and AirAsia is preparing for it. In Australia, the airline getting ready to inaugurate new routes, Perth-Lombok and Brisbane-Bangkok. Both are set for launch in June.

The airline’s website already sells car rentals, holiday packages in five regional destinations and accommodation at half a million hotels and serviced apartments worldwide.

The South China Morning Post said had 65 million unique monthly visitors, as well as data from 50 million repeat customers. It quoted a financial analyst who said the scope and potential for AirAsia to sell foreign airline tickets was “substantial”.

Fernandes pointed out that people who wanted to travel bought an airline ticket first, then booked a hotel. Last year, generated USD 4 billion in ticket sales.

Pointedly, Fernandes said: “I think we can be stronger than Klook at selling activities.”

Hong Kong-based Klook, while not a household name in Australia, is a world leading travel activities and services booking platform. It has just raised USD 225 million in funding to move onto its next phase. In the four years since its launch, Klook claims to have become the most searched travel activities and services company on Google.

AirAsia’s OTA move comes as Singapore-based Agoda, one of the world’s fastest growing OTAs, has announced a partnership with Amadeus. Agoda is part of Booking Holdings and employs more than 4000 staff in over 30 countries.

Agoda’s pact with Amadeus will let travel agents worldwide view Agoda’s content – available at the same price as Agoda’s website – and compare it to other content through a single screen, and book the content in one PNR with other content. See: Agoda pre-paid hotel content now available to travel agents through Amadeus.

Written by Peter Needham

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