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Air Asia Is Now Moving Into The Restaurant Business

It’s not an unknown idea for an airline to pivot off an area of their business into its own venture. Qantas has turned its points system into an insurance company, Icelandair’s destinations into a tour company and now, Air Asia’s onboard food into a restaurant chain.

That’s right, the CEO of Air Asia wants to serve customers on the ground the food that they offer in the air.

Air Asia A320

Air Asia operates 89 A320s, with a further 349 on order. Source: Air Asia

What are the details?

The new restaurant chain will be opening in Malaysia first and will serve food that is avaliable on their airline.

“Our food is fantastic. We believe in it so much that we’re going to start a fast-food restaurant out of it. It’s called Santan” – Air Asia Group’s CEO Tony Fernandes

Santan, which means coconut milk in Malay, is also the name of Air Asia’s onboard local menu. A menu that is famously extensive, regionally genuine and allows passengers to pre-book meals before taking off.

Local menu examples include:

Air Asia

Just a slice of the full Air Asia menu available on nearly every flight! Source: Air Asia

The new food venture menu will be based on the most popular choices of their 400 million passengers over the last few years.

“What we are doing is bringing the wonderful flavors of ASEAN into Santan to create a unique food experience, with the vision of replicating the on-ground gourmet experience onboard. The flavor, profile and pricing of inflight food has always been a challenge but we believe that with Santan, we can create the first restaurant brand in the sky that is both tasty and affordable”.

Will this work?

It’s hard to say, as one hand the competition is going to be fierce. South East Asia is well known for its market food culture and the idea of a company trying to enter this market and compete against those that have been doing it for years is… interesting.

But on the flip side, Air Asia didn’t just spring up overnight to become one of the best low cost and most successful carriers. By using this knowledge and economy of scale, the airline might leverage quite a lot of power into the food game. After all, they are already making the food for their aircraft they could serve it to their customers as well.

Air Asia A330-900neo

Air Asia A330-900neo. Source: Airbus

If Tony Fernandes and his team can pull off the airline game, then there is no reason why they can’t be successful in this venture to! We look forward to reviewing it on our upcoming website SimpleEating (Just kidding!).

Air Asia will release more information about this new venture as soon as it is done in the oven.

What do you think? Will this new fast food chain be successful?

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