AirAsia partners with Silicon Valley accelerator to look for innovative startups – Tech News

AirAsia is partnering with Silicon Valley accelerator Plug and Play to dig up new talents in travel technology. — File pic
Low-cost carrier AirAsia is taking a bite into the Silicon Valley.

Its deputy group chief executive officer (digital, transformation and corporate services) Aireen Omar said the partnership was the first of many to keep a finger on the pulse of innovation so the airline can identify technologies to maintain its leadership in cost and customer experience and transform AirAsia from an airline into a global digital company.

AirAsia will work as an anchor partner of Plug and Play.

They also planned to identify, observe and support relevant startups that were developing new products and technologies for the travel sector

Plug and Play founder and CEO Saeed Amidi said it will help AirAsia engage the most promising startups in the industry and bring new ideas into its business.

“Their experience will be a great addition to our environment and we welcome them to Silicon Valley,” he said, in a joint-press statement with Aireen.

AirAsia said it is a pioneer in adopting new technologies to improve travel experience, being one of the first to introduce SMS booking in 2003 in Malaysia. It then introduced a website for flight booking, check-in and booking changes, followed by a mobile app.

Recently, AirAsia debuted its Fast Airport Clearance Experience System (FACES), facial recognition boarding gates, becoming the first airline in Asia to be fully automated from check-in to boarding.

The airline said it had invested heavily in the digital services including for its BigPay e-wallet app, ROKKI in-flight WiFi connectivity, AirAsia Big Loyalty program and RedBox logistics.

Plug and Play bills itself as the world's largest startup accelerator, hosting 400 startups in its Sunnyvale's headquarters – a city between Cupertino which hosts Apple and Mountain View which houses Google.

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