Thailand: Airasia expands ride service

Airasia ride, a ride-hailing service under the airasia Super App, is forging ahead with an aggressive move to entice drivers with a low 15% commission fee, while setting competitive fares to attract passengers, particularly tourists.

It indicated its fares are about 15% lower than its competitors. It expects the ride-hailing service will attain profitability within a year.

Airasia Super App is part of airasia Digital, the digital arm of Malaysia-based Capital A, formerly AirAsia Group, a low-cost airline operator.

The ride-hailing business in Thailand is still dominated by Grab.

“Our group is pinning its hopes on ride-hailing business in Asean, particularly Bangkok, which is among our largest markets,” said Lim Ben-Jie, head of the delivery group at airasia Super App.

Its ride-hailing business started in Malaysia and attained profitability within 14 months. The platform has reached two million rides with 53,000 registered drivers.

“The majority of our users are tourists, with each person using 5-6 rides per day. Users can book cars in advance for their next destinations,” Mr Lim said.

In Thailand, airasia ride was launched in Bangkok in May, starting with services provided by conventional taxis.

It is now expanding to services with drivers who have their own cars.

Mr Lim said the platform expects to expand its ride-hailing services across the country, and even to small cities next year.

“Our goal now is to be among the top two operators in ride-hailing business as soon as possible as the market is currently dominated by one player,” Mr Lim said.

Nattinee Tawanchulee, country head of airasia Super App Thailand, stressed that the platform’s strategy is to complete the journey of passengers from “plane to ground”.

She said Thailand is the second country where it has a legally licensed private car-hailing service.

The country is one of the leading tourist destinations, with 18 million foreign tourists projected to visit Thailand next year.

The firm will spend on advertising to raise brand awareness, she said.

“We are the only app that is part of an airline group that allows travellers to book flights, hotels, transfers and ride-hailing services,” she said.

Passengers can also specifically choose three driver features based on their demand, covering women drivers, quiet drivers and English-speaking drivers.

Ms Nattinee said its ride-hailing business has created differentiation by having 15% lower fares than other providers.

The company offers the lowest commission fee for drivers at 15%.

There are three types of airasia ride driver partners.

The first concerns taxi drivers and the second involves those using their private cars to provide the service. The drivers in these two categories can choose their working times freely without an income guarantee.

The third refers to drivers applying for the platform’s “Private Plus” programme with a weekly income base of up to 8,500 baht per week or 50,000 baht a month. They are obliged to drive six days a week and at least eight hours a day while having to accomplish at least 90% of the assigned tasks.