KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—AirAsia Philippines, which is determined to fully restore its operations to prepandemic level this year, is ramping up its aircraft fleet as it plans to reopen more international routes.
Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia parent firm Capital A, told reporters on Wednesday they would be receiving 10 aircraft this year, increasing their current fleet of 14 units.
With more units, the AirAsia chief said they were projecting the number of passengers to double and anticipating the expansion of "cheap" cargo delivery services.
"That's been number one priority for me: bring back all the planes. It is a massive job," he said.
The additional aircraft, he said, would allow AirAsia to restart more international routes moving forward but Fernandes declined to say which destinations they were eyeing for now.
He sees the full restoration of its flight capacities this year, driven by the further reopening of the economy, especially the tourism sector.
Recently, AirAsia announced the launching of routes to Japan and China, which are among the most popular travel destinations in the world.
Digital concierge powered by AI
The low-cost airline also introduced on Wednesday its digital concierge feature powered by artificial intelligence (AI) in a bid to improve consumer experience.
Dubbed as "Ask Bo," the chatbot is designed to answer consumer queries in a more intuitive manner in order to better address customer concerns.
This new platform has replaced the chatbot AirAsia Virtual Allstar (AVA), which was flooded by complaints from customers due to inefficiency.
"Our guests have spoken and we are listening and learning. We felt their frustration toward our first AI chatbot—AVA—which was always a work in progress. We recognize she fell short of people's expectations and we want to do better," said Fernandes.
"Ask Bo" is a platform inspired by AirAsia Aviation group's CEO Bo Lingam, who was described by Fernandes as his right-hand man whose insights he could rely on when making crucial business decisions.
"I am happy to put my name and my face for this new and enhanced version of our customer concierge service that promises to be more proactive and attentive," Lingam said.
Kesavan Sivanadam, chief airport and customer experience officer at the AirAsia Aviation Group, said the AI-backed technology would have more features, including live updates on flight updates, real-time automatic updates of departure timings and others.
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