Friday, 16 August 2019, marked a very important day for AirAsia, and those present at RedQ, because our very own prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad, dropped by the office!
To celebrate this momentous occasion, the RedQ family was bedecked in red. Everything and everybody was seeing red, literally!
It was also especially significant because it was during this time that AirAsia presented what the future of air travel would be like.
The event kicked off as soon as Tun M arrived at RedQ, accompanied by Minister of Transport Anthony Loke Siew Fook, where they were invited to sign the aircraft model at RedQ’s Level 4 Atrium.
He was then greeted by AirAsia’s AI-powered chatbot and Virtual Allstar, AVA on video. (You might be familiar with AVA, if you have ever encountered any problems with your flights, bookings and such.)
AVA introduced the future of air travel and digital airports, which would help to make travel experiences smoother, personalised and efficient.
Shortly after that, the travel lifestyle technology tour, which kicked off at the Innovation Lab, had AirAsia present airasia.com, its all-in-one travel platform which has now begun to offer lifestyle offerings aside from flights (such as ground transport, tours and entertainment), so travellers can book their travel needs at one stop.
Next, Tun M also took part in the airline operations technology tour, where there was a demonstration of AirAsia’s FACES — Fast Airport Clearance Experience System — a technology that would allow for digital check-ins, self baggage drops, immigration clearance and boarding using facial recognition technology. We believe that this would undoubtedly make our travels much safer, easier and stress-free!
Other demonstrations of engineering solutions such as blockchain technology and Skywise, which are able to provide more efficient, reliable and greener end-to-end operations, and AirAsia’s other key components such as e-marketplace OURSHOP, cargo and logistics platform Teleport, fintech venture BigPay and other affiliates such as Santan and AirAsia Foundation were also showcased to Tun M.
Post-tour, everyone gathered back at the Atrium to sing Negaraku before making way for Allstars Lim Ben Jie and Safia Amira to give their welcome speech.
Safia, who has been with AirAsia for three years now, is serving as one of the 228 female pilots with the airline (and her father and sister are pilots too!). She thanked AirAsia for providing her the opportunity to chase her dream of being a female pilot, and how anyone can be who they dream to be at AirAsia.
“At AirAsia, you can achieve anything you want, as long as you dare to dream. The possibilities are truly endless,” she said.
Ben Jie then added, “I always remember what Datuk Din and Tony have told me before: people are AirAsia’s biggest and most important assets, and that is absolutely true.”
Thereafter, Tun M also took to the stage to say a few words. Tun praised AirAsia for its successes since 2001 and for being the world’s best low-cost airline for the 11th year in a row. He regaled the Alltars of his experiences visiting AirAsia’s then-office at LCCT, and how far it has come since then.
“I would like to congratulate AirAsia for spearheading the revolutionisation of budget air travel in this region, achieving numerous milestones along the years, and for making AirAsia the preferred airline among the people” said Tun M.
He also mentioned that AirAsia was one of the best Malaysian success stories based on innovation and mentioned how AirAsia was the first airline to sell tickets online, have its own app and take social media engagements very seriously. Following this, he looks forward to the digitisation of airports, which AirAsia has now begun to work towards.
What we personally considered a highlight (apart from the fact that Tun M was at RedQ itself), was the Q&A session.
Although only three questions were allowed due to time constraints, Tun M’s witty responses were met with such delightful claps and cheers by the crowd:
Question 1: What are your thoughts after experiencing RedQ?
Tun M: Well, I know that this isn’t just a regular office. When they said that AirAsia had an open concept, I thought that they couldn’t afford the glass. But I see even for the top management, they don’t have partitions. I am reminded of a phrase which was meaningful to at one time: “Nothing to hide”. So I hope that you will continue to be very transparent.
Question 2: What is your vision for AirAsia’s future in aviation?
Tun M: My hope is that we can become one of the world’s aerospace centre, so that everything that is connected with airlines and aerospace will begin in Malaysia.
Question 3: You have seen our progress. You have seen us grow from 2 aircraft to 260. What is your advice for AirAsia to continue its growth in the future?
Tun M: At first when I met these two (Tony Fernandes and Datuk Din Meranun), when they came to see me, I thought they were crazy. To save their money, I told them not to register a new airline. Instead I told them to buy somebody else’s license. Now I hope that they will keep on growing — not sideways, but upwards. That’s the way to go. Never stop growing.
As a token of appreciation, Tun M was presented with a leather jacket by Projek Jahat, a collaborative fashion design team that works closely with AirAsia Foundation.
Fun fact: That leather jacket was actually made out of old AirAsia plane seats!
Well, that was an immensely productive day, if you ask us (although we may be biased, and hope Tun M felt the same way).
We think it’s a brilliant idea that the government, helmed by Tun M himself, is incredibly supportive of our plans to revolutionise air travel and tourism in our country. After all, this would not only benefit travellers around the globe but also the nation! Here’s to digitised airports!