AirAsia's Tony Fernandes eyes ride-hailing firm in PH

Michelle Ong and Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2023 12:16 PM

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Capital A CEO Tony Ferdnades said on Monday the company is planning to launch a ride-hailing firm in the Philippines to challenge Grab.

AirAsia Group was renamed as Capital A Berhad in 2022 to reflect a wider portfolio of aviation, travel and lifestyle businesses. The group is already offering ride-hailing services in other markets such as Malaysia.

Fernandes, who is currently in Manila, told ANC he is in the country to meet Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista.

"We want to launch our ride-hailing services here and provide some competition to Grab we think we will be more affordable and obviously we can make a huge dent at airports," he said. 

He said the group's ride-hailing business model is unique since it plans to hire full-time drivers who are entitled to benefits such as insurance. 

Around up to 2,000 jobs can be generated in the Philippines with the venture and other businesses in the next 2 to 3 years, he said, possibly more if the venture succeeds.

Fernandes said the venture would be launched "soon."

The tycoon also shared he would meet a local conglomerate to discuss a potential partnership for Capital A's fintech venture Big Pay. 

AirAsia also remains bullish on the Philippines aviation sector as pent-up demand is still driving leisure, workforce and MSME travel, Fernandes said.

Although the country's tourists arrival is still below that of Thailand's, Fernandes said the local tourism industry is doing "good."

"We're going to invest very heavily in the Philippines," he said.