A 70% off sale like the one announced this week is enough to grab plenty of attention. But the bigger news from AirAsia as it resumes interstate operations is a major push to digital processes for travel, effectively eliminating paper documents for its guests.
All passengers are required, effective immediately, to check in using the AirAsia super app. This will reduce interaction between customers and crew at the airports. It also helps the airline to execute on its requirement that all travelers be fully vaccinated. AirAsia integrated its app with the national vaccination records on MySejahtera, allowing for validation of that status.
Barcodes on the app help reduce contact, but the airline is ready to take the next step. The long-touted FACES (Fast Airport Clearance Experience System) facial recognition system will be activated for all travelers in the weeks ahead. As Ria Asmat, CEO of AirAsia Malaysia explains:
Very soon, AirAsia will roll out FACES, our contactless facial recognition system that will make the boarding process even more swift and efficient. We would like to encourage everyone to enrol into FACES now with just a few simple steps on the airasia Super App and when you’re at the airport for your next flight, just approach any service counter to have your FACES verified against your travel documents and you’re good to fly without having to worry about holding any paper documents in hand.
The FACES tool launched for employees several years ago. AirAsia uses it to control access to its headquarters near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, among other things. And the company claimed it was ready to move forward with the effort in 2019. Then COVID happened.
Late last year AirAsia announced a partnership with Vision-Box and its Orchestra Identity Management System, with plans to cover more than 150 airports in the AirAsia network. It now appears that project is ready to go live, at least in part.
Passengers will be required to confirm their travel documents at the airport as part of the enrollment process. Once that completes, however, nearly all interactions, from bag drop to aircraft boarding, can be managed via biometric scans rather than manual document review.
That is also effectively forces passengers into using the super app, a key component of the company’s “digital transformation” strategy and now able to deliver everything from ride hailing to financial services certainly is a nice side effect of the moves.
AirAsia Malaysia’s initial route network for the relaunch covers a flight schedule of 61 daily flights across its 16 domestic destinations. This includes flights from Kuala Lumpur to:
- Langkawi (63x weekly),
- Alor Setar (10x weekly),
- Kota Kinabalu (35x weekly),
- Bintulu (2x weekly),
- Kuching (10x weekly),
- Labuan (14x weekly),
- Miri (4x weekly),
- Penang (21x weekly),
- Sibu (2x weekly),
- Sandakan (21x weekly),
- Johor Bahru (10x weekly),
- Kuala Terengganu (28x weekly),
- Tawau (28x weekly), and
- Kota Bharu (35x weekly).
More routes will be added and frequencies increased as the travel demand grows in tandem with the reopening of more leisure destinations in the near future and subject to approval from the authorities.
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