The founder and CEO of AirAsia airlines announced that they are in discussion on the possibilities in acquiring a Chinese financial constrained hospitality company HNA Group, Hainan Airlines. Chairman of Hainan Airlines, HNA, Wang Jian met with Tony Fernandes on the procedures to be followed so as to acquire HNA businesses.
When asked if they will buy Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express all owned by HNA, Tony responded, “we are at all times concerned about whatsoever opportunities go our way.”
He added that discussions with Wang so far do not involve their airlines. Also Tony said AirAsia Japan is his airline’s group, “great importance”. Fernandes has complained about the Japanese supervisory authority that they are taking so long before accepting their wishes. He termed this move by the regulators as “old-fashioned”.
HNA was aggressive in buying assets overseas such as businesses and hotels. Many Chinese creditors and regulators are pressuring HNA to quickly unburden their properties so as to ease their financial constraints. In the past year AirAsia which operates in Indonesia, India, Philippines, and Thailand, carried more than 80 million passengers is also planning to start airlines in Myanmar and Vietnam. After a meeting with the regulators in Japan, Fernandes decided to move to Japan so as to build a good relationship. He has promised to live and learn a lot of Japanese. As Tokyo prepares to host the 2020 Olympics, Tony has cautioned that AirAsia will miss big opportunities due to supervisory body holdups.
Tony Fernandes has also hinted at having interest in digital businesses. He is also said that they are anticipating in introducing “Big Coin” as a form of cryptocurrency in their ticket sells so as to increase the carrier’s flyer points. “In six months to come you will be able to pay for seat upgrades and meals and other services through ‘Big Coin’,” Fernandes told the press. This January, AirAsia set rolling a mobile wallet facility called BigPay. The firm objects “to remove cash from their planes,” enabling travelers to make payments through their smartphones through its onboard Wi-Fi network.