AirAsia Plans To Convert Frequent Flyer Points To Cryptocurrency ‘BigCoin’

AirAsia, Asia’s largest budget airline by passenger volume, is creating its own cryptocurrency, embracing new tech as it expands services into more markets, the Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing the company founder and CEO Tony Fernandes.

The Malaysia-based airline is planning to convert the frequent flyer points to cryptocurrency named as”BigCoin.”

From April, the airline will reportedly quote ticket prices on its website in fiat currencies as well as in BigCoin. Passengers can purchase seat upgrades, in-flight meals and other services using the digital currency that will be valid for three to six months.

Fernandes told Nikkei that the company will carry out an initial coin offering, but did not specify when. With that, the BigCoin will be available at crypto exchanges and he hopes the cryptocurrency will start being accepted by third party businesses.

AirAsia had launched a mobile wallet service called BigPay in January that allows passengers to buy refreshments on board over Wi-Fi using their smartphones. Fernandes hopes the mobile platform will expand to money remittance and lending, the report said.

A host of airline companies are increasingly exploring the use of cryptocurrencies in their services, more so in South Asia where people are more familiar with these.

Singapore Airlines has already announced a similar plan. In February, the airline said it would launch a lifestyle digital wallet app that will convert its KrisFlyer miles into digital tokens that can be used at point-of-sale terminals at participating retailers.

The company said a successful proof-of-concept exercise was carried out in collaboration with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft. The wallet app is expected to be launched by August.

Earlier this year, Taiwanese airline FAT Taiwan, which owns the Far Eastern Air Transport, and Japan’s low-cost carrier Peach Aviation had also announced that they would accept cryptocurrencies as payments for tickets.

And outside Asia, the California-based commuter airline Surf Air also announced such plans.

by Jyotsna VRTTNews Staff Writer

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