AirAsia Group plans air taxi, drone delivery services in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's AirAsia Group plans to launch an air taxi service and the country's first drone delivery service as the budget carrier seeks to diversify amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the company's chief executive said.

As part of the group's diversification push, it also aims to launch a ride-hailing service next month as Covid-19 continues to hit air travel.

"The air taxi will have a pilot and four seats. At the moment, we have our team working on this upcoming service by AirAsia," chief executive Tony Fernandes said at the Youth Economic Forum 2021, state news agency Bernama reported yesterday.

The service should start operating in about 18 months, Mr Fernandes was quoted as saying.

He also said that the airline's logistics unit Teleport, which is testing an urban drone delivery service with state-backed firm Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), will conduct its first commercial delivery by the end of this year.

"(The) idea was brought up three weeks ago and now it's reality," he wrote on Instagram.

He said the group was recovering from the impact of the pandemic and had used the opportunity to accelerate its digital transformation, Bernama reported.

The struggling airline, which reported a fifth straight quarterly loss in November, has been seeking to raise RM2.5 billion (S$822 million) from loans and investors.

Last month, it said its 33 per cent-owned Japanese unit, which ceased operations last October, had begun bankruptcy proceedings.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 07, 2021, with the headline 'AirAsia Group plans air taxi, drone delivery services in Malaysia'. Subscribe