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AirAsia Chases After Ridesharing Leadership in the Skies

The low-cost airliner AirAsia is diversifying its role in this airspace to keep itself afloat and away from negative press.

Credit: Capital A

When two Singaporean aviation entities announced plans to launch air taxi services in Singapore with planned flights to Malaysia’s southern corridor by 2024, Capital A – newly renamed from AirAsia Group – announced its own air mobility efforts. This news came out on the same day at the just concluded Singapore Air Show 2022 and just over a month after Capital A received its recent PN17 status.

The first major step in this endeavour for Capital A is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ireland-based Avolon, a global aircraft leasing and lease management firm.

According to Tony Fernandes, CEO, Capital A, this new service is expected to roll out in 2025. While it’s unclear if he meant that the airspace coverage for these eVTOLs will include Southeast Asia or not, it is certain to take off in Malaysia within that given timeline.

In signing this collaboration with Avolon, AirAsia Aviation Group will be leasing a minimum of 100 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon and developing a working group that will pursue local certification for these vertical take-off/landing vehicles and carry out research and development work that will look into the viability of urban air mobility (UAM). This includes discovering potential market opportunities and infrastructure for UAM deployment.

Fernandes (left) and Slattery (right) with the signed MoU. Credit: Capital A

“Avolon, through its investment and innovation affiliate – Avolon-e, will partner with AirAsia to commercialise zero-emission eVTOL aircraft and develop an industry-leading UAM platform in Southeast Asia,” added Fernandes.

Domhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, who was present to counter-sign the MoU, shared how both Avolon and AirAsia will also be co-developing a ride-sharing platform that will make use of the leased VX4 eVTOLs.

The VX4 eVTOL. Credit: Vertical Aerospace/Avolon

“We are delighted to partner with AirAsia who share our vision of revolutionising the future of air travel. We look forward to working with Tony, and the AirAsia team, on their eVTOL journey,” he added.

  • Capital A, via AirAsia, ordered 100 VTOLs from Avolon to kickstart air ridesharing effort

  • The collaboration includes forming a working group to pursue local certification and carry out R&D for urban air mobility for Malaysia now and Southeast Asia as a whole by 2025

  • This comes days after Volocopter and Skyports made their respective Singaporean air mobility announcements

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