AirAsia changes name to Capital A as it grows beyond an airline

The company's airline business has been hard-hit during the pandemic due to strict travel rules in Asia. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Malaysia's AirAsia Group said on Friday (Jan 28) it has finalised the name change of its listed holding company to Capital A as it seeks market recognition of its growing portfolio of businesses beyond the core budget airline.

The company's airline business has been hard hit during the pandemic due to strict travel rules in Asia, leading Malaysia's stock exchange to this month classify the firm as financially distressed though it has been raising funds to bolster its balance sheet.

Capital A has been investing heavily in payments business BigPay, logistics arm Teleport and its mobile Super App to gain other sources of revenue, though they remain in growth phases and were loss-making in the quarter ended Sept 30, 2021.

"Over the past two years, we have spent the downturn in flying building a solid foundation for a viable and successful future, which is not solely reliant on airfares alone," Capital A chief executive Tony Fernandes said in a statement.

The airline business will retain the AirAsia brand, which is well known in Asia, he added.

The carrier on Thursday reported that it filled 80 per cent of seats on offer in the fourth quarter of 2021 and had the highest number of passengers since the start of the pandemic as travel rules began to ease.

"Domestic travel has already started to rebound in our key markets," Mr Fernandes said. "I am hopeful borders will reopen gradually throughout 2022 and we will see a return to normal capacity for our international services by the middle to third quarter of this year."

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