AirAsia, the largest budget airline in Asia has announced its plan to expand into the air taxi market.
The company expects the air taxi service to be approved by authorities and to be able to conduct test flights in the next 18 months.
To launch the air taxi service on schedule, AirAsia are currently working with two major companies that have committed to air taxi development for years.
The plan is also overseen by AirAsia’s chief pilot of safety.
The initial model of the air taxis has been created. Different to Uber’s own air taxi service, instead of using autopilot systems, AirAsia will operate its flying taxis using qualified pilots.
The air taxi will be operated using quadcopters and are capable of carrying four passengers and one pilot.
Air taxi services are not the only project AirAsia is committing to, however.
While the pandemic continues to hit the aviation industry, the carrier continues to aim high.
AirAsia is also trying a new business model by creating an online platform, which provides services such as hotel reservations, online shopping, and drone delivery.
“We couldn’t fly, so I told the team that now is the perfect time to pivot. We have to move quickly. We really put our foot on the pedal during COVID-19 because we had no choice” said Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia Group.
However, AirAsia are still going through some hard times financially with the company reporting a net loss of RM2.44 billion (US$590.72 million) for the fourth quarter last year, which is six times larger than a year earlier.
On the plus side though, the carrier says it has confidence in a full recovery within two years.