To expand its airline service and tap into more markets, AirAsia is setting foot into the digital realm. In a recent interview, CEO Tony Fernandes mentioned that being the region’s largest budget airline, its launching forays into fintech services and cryptocurrencies using mountains of its operational data. The currency will be called as BigCoin.
In Flight Crypto Valuables
Starting in April 2018, the group’s website will be listing the ticket prices in conventional as well as BigCoin currencies.
Fernandes also added that in using their coin, passengers would be able to pay for seat upgrades, in-flight meals and various other services within a span of three to six months. He is also in anticipation of an ICO that will allow the coins to be bought at exchanges.
Additionally, any prior collected frequent flyer points will be converted into BigCoins by the Malaysia-based airline. Fernandes explained the following:
“We have two things that are very interesting which will have relevance to ICOs, one is our loyalty card where we have [loyalty program] BIG Points, and I think those BigPoints can be easily transferred to the blockchain.”
CEO Unfazed By Cryptocurrency Criticisms
The current criticism surrounding the digital currency, both its security and price volatility, doesn’t seem to concern the CEO.
According to him, cryptocurrency is a tool to alleviate currency fluctuation from overseas revenue. He also envisions BigCoin being an acceptable mode of payment for third-party businesses.
Earlier in 2018, to take cash off the planes, the group launched a mobile wallet service called BigPay. It allows the passengers to buy food and drinks onboard using the flight’s Wi-Fi.
Money remittance and lending are what Fernandes aims at entering, keeping the mobile platform at the crux of his activities.
As of now, there is no further information on BigCoin, and it is yet unknown if Air Asia would use a blockchain or make the coin an ERC20 token, a famous route towards introducing new tokens.
South Asian Airlines Seem to Be Receptive to Cryptos
Other airlines are also looking at blockchain technologies as a possible rewards program model in recent months.
In an announcement in February 2018, Singapore Airlines spoke of its plans to introduce a private blockchain system, which would cater specifically to its frequent-flyer program.
There was no word on whether the system would have its own cryptocurrency.
“This groundbreaking development in which we will be using blockchain technology to ‘digitalise’ KrisFlyer miles is a demonstration of the investment we are making to significantly enhance the digital side of our business for the benefit of our customers,” said C.E.O Goh Choon Phong.