Taxi-ing Off: Air Asia Pushes Into Ride-Hailing In Bangkok

Photo by Mike Tsitas on Unsplash

AirAsia has launched a ride-hailing service in Bangkok, eyeing a slice of the region’s growing market as tourism reopens.

Hey Cabbie: The ride-hailing service, named AirAsia Ride, officially started operations on Tuesday. As many as 3,000 drivers have currently registered and the company plans to onboard another 50,000 by the end of 2022.

Looking East: Last year, AirAsia Ride kicked off its first in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After Bangkok, the airline aims to expand into holiday destinations in Thailand such as Phuket and Chiang Mai and other countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore to capture demand from international tourists. 

Super Rebound: The budget airline that once tested its waters in online commerce during the depths of the pandemic, is counting on a rebound in travel this summer. A so-called “Super App” that offers a host of on-demand services from car-hailing to flight bookings will join the party. 

Dog Eat Dog: Competitors in the country include Grab Holdings Ltd. and Estonia’s Bolt Technology OU. Penetrating the ride-hailing market will not be a cakewalk for AirAsia. For one, it will need to burn a lot of cash to recruit drivers, and two, Southeast Asians don’t tend to stick to their platforms if they are tempted to switch with incentives such as discounts and promotions.

Too long? Here’s a one-liner: Budget airline AirAsia has forayed into ride-hailing in Bangkok with its service AirAsia Ride, employs 3,000 drivers and is betting on travel rebounding.

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