AirAsia Malaysia to exit India business? Impact?

As per this and this news on Business Standard, Air Asia's Global boss Tony Fernandes has lost interest in India business and is looking to exit India venture. This probability was looming over past few years because of multiple factors

  • Indian authorities levied corruption charges against Air Asia India and Tony Fernandes for getting license and approvals related to Air Asia India
  • Tatas hold majority state (51%) in the venture but Tony Fernandes's style is to control everything from Malaysia. Air Asia India's booking, pricing, sales etc were being managed on the unified global website.
  • India business hasn't gained significant market share and profitability is distant dream after current covid-19 crisis.
  • Tatas have already geared up to take over management of Air Asia India. News is that Tatas have commissioned TCS to build a separate website, inventory management and other solutions for Air Asia India.
It is just a matter of time before the crisis deepens or reaches a separation, making Air Asia India a separate entity from Air Asia Malaysia & other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia.
What this means for me and you as a potential passenger of Air Asia (India & International combined)

#1 Main challenge will to use credit shell. If the websites get separated, we need to see what happens to credit shell. For Indian customers, will credit shell remain with Air Asia India or Air Asia MY or will there be a split? At present if we have credit shell we can use it for domestic or international flights. Going forward, we may not be able to do that- we may be forced to use it only on India/International flights, which means less options and more chances of credit shell going waste.

#2 Big Sale: Air Asia is popular for its dirt cheap big sales. I had booked several super cheap tickets because of big sales, such as
  • INR 502 one way between AMD-KUL
  • INR 7800 return ticket Chennai-Brunei
  • INR 200 one way KUL-Penang
  • INR 5800 Vizag-Australia (Avalon Melbourne) etc.
However I don't think India management will have similar appetite for deep discount sales. With India business separated, Air Asia Malaysia also may reduce focus on India market- less flights, less sales etc.

#3  Two separate customer cares
Call centre is already separated. Indians can't call India customer care to sort out issues on AK/FD flights.  But website, chat support was unified. With separation, both will be different entities, more running around to fix our issues.

#4 IP: At present there's a unified experience across the board. This will split- we have to see if things improve for better or worse. Will new Air Asia India management keep the low cost experience as is? Will it merge air Asia India with Vistara? will they do further cost cutting? We have to see

What do you think?

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