Tycoon Tony Fernandes’ AirAsia Renamed ‘Capital A’ As Loss-Making Airline Pivots To Digital Businesses

According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, suffering $138 billion in damages last year.

Tycoon Tony Fernandes’ AirAsia Renamed ‘Capital A’ As Loss-Making Airline Pivots To Digital Businesses
Photo by Arif Kartono on Getty Images

Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun, Malaysian tycoons, who own AirAsia Group, has renamed themselves to Capital A, reflecting the budget carrier's development into digital businesses. While the airline will retain the AirAsia brand, Capital A will serve as the holding company for the group's other ventures, including food and parcel delivery, ridesharing, and digital payments. As the airline's financial situation worsened due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it turned to digital companies to develop a super app that will compete with Southeast Asian tech giants such as GoTo in Indonesia and Grab and Sea Group in Singapore.

“The strategy behind the name change is to introduce a new corporate identity that better reflects the group’s core business today and its future businesses, in tandem with our rapid transformation from an airline to a services group. one-stop-shop digital travel and lifestyle products,” Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, said in a statement Friday. “We believe the new company name will also improve the marketing of our products and boost the long-term success of our group.”

Passengers carried by AirAsia's operating joint ventures across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand fell 64% to 4.8 million in 2021 from the previous year, according to data released by the company on Thursday, as governments around the world imposed new lockdowns in response to a new spike in Covid-19 infections. The number of passengers carried doubled to 2.7 million in the fourth quarter of the year, indicating an increase in traffic.

“We have pivoted, we have transformed, and we have put in place a five-year plan that will see non-airline revenue contribute around 50% of overall group revenue by 2026,” Fernandes said. “Once airlines return to pre-Covid levels in the near future, all of our other lines of business will benefit significantly and will all reach new heights in tandem with each other.”

Airlines have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with governments all over the world implementing lockdowns and restricting cross-border travel in the last two years to stop the virus from spreading. According to the International Air Transport Association, global airlines will lose roughly $52 billion this year after losing about $138 billion last year.