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Canadian firm invests in AirAsia's loyalty programme

Tony Fernandes, group CEO of AirAsia, right, together with Rupert Duchesne, left, his counterpart at Aimia, reveals their new partnership.

Tony Fernandes, group CEO of AirAsia, right, together with Rupert Duchesne, left, his counterpart at Aimia, reveals their new partnership.

Aimia, a loyalty-management firm headquartered in Canada, Malaysia-based airline AirAsia, and Think Big Digital have signed a partnership agreement for Aimia's acquisition of a minority stake in Think Big, the owner and operator of AirAsia's and Tune Group's loyalty programmes.

Aimia will initially invest about 16 million Canadian dollars (Bt472 million) in Think Big, with up to an additional C$7 million to be invested if certain milestones are achieved by the end of next year.

The partners say the arrangement combines AirAsia's unrivalled success in the Asian market, which has seen it grow from just two aircraft to more than 160 in 12 years, Tune Group's portfolio of successful companies including hotels, pre-paid Visa cards, insurance and music companies, and Aimia's expertise in the design and management of travel-based loyalty programmes.

"The partnership [among] AirAsia, Think Big Digital and Aimia is yet another way that AirAsia and Tune Group are innovating and driving change in the Asian airline market - all to the benefit of our members, guests and investors," said Tony Fernandes, group chief executive of AirAsia and co-founder of Tune Group.

"With its experience running the world's largest standalone frequent-flyer programmes, the Aimia team has unique and invaluable insight. We are thrilled to be working together to leverage that knowledge as we continue to grow the AirAsia BIG loyalty programme."

Rupert Duchesne, Aimia's group CEO, said: "The AirAsia BIG loyalty programme is a great opportunity to export Aimia's coalition business model and to help our clients create deep and lasting relationships with their customers.

"Through this partnership with AirAsia and Tune Group, we look forward to sharing our experience with this programme, while also growing our presence in the high-potential Asian loyalty market."

The AirAsia BIG loyalty programme spans across Southeast Asia, a growing market with a population of 634 million. The region is ranked fourth globally in airline market size.

The programme continues to benefit from the growing customer base of both AirAsia and Tune Group. It has already attracted a broad coalition of partners ranging from credit-card companies, retail stores, and petrol stations to insurance and telecom firms, in addition to the AirAsia and Tune Group family partners.

"With AirAsia's customer base of over 43 million guests a year, the potential of BIG to deliver deeper, more meaningful relationships to a broad membership base is significant," said Alice Goh, the programme's CEO. "We believe that this potential extends beyond flight revenues and we look forward to working with all BIG partners to build a cutting-edge programme."

Marc Allsop, Aimia's senior vice president of business development, added: "Asia represents a key region for Aimia as we expand our presence globally, and we believe the partnership between ourselves, AirAsia and Tune Group provides a fantastic platform to further demonstrate our unique capabilities in the loyalty industry.

"This partnership brings three innovative, forward-thinking brands together for the long-term benefit of our customers."






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