Tony Fernandes, owner of AirAsia low-cost airline Capital A group, is planning “two” New York (NY) listings, reports the Fernandes, better known in the UK for his majority shareholding of QPR FC, as well as being founder of the Caterham F1 Formula One team, told the media last month, he is gunning for two NY listings, one for the airline and the other a digital “super app”, which offers services from travel to takeaways.

Renowned for his quotes, the colourful Fernandes told the FT, “If you want to be an actor, you’re probably going to want to end up in Hollywood at some stage in your career. We think the time is right for part of Capital A group to be listed in the United States.”

Tony Fernandes and AirAsia Stewardesses

His business group, which changed name earlier this year, had previously considered merging its digital businesses via a SPAC, with hopes of raising over USD300 million, but this was postponed during the pandemic for financial reasons.

Fernandes, who has recently moved into ecommerce and digital markets, said the issue had now been resolved. Meanwhile, Capital A’s shares remain under Practice Note 17 on the Malaysian stock exchange (a listing for groups in financial distress). Fernandes insists it was a “solvable accounting issue”, which “doesn’t reflect the fundamentals of the company”.

What makes the potential airline listing interesting for readers of, is AirAsia’s recent eVTOL leasing deal with Avolon to create a ride-sharing platform in Southeast Asia. The companies have signed a non-binding MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to lease a minimum of 100 Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Irish company, Avolon.

In addition, Dublin-based Avolon will partner with AirAsia to commercialise such craft and develop a UAM (urban air mobility) platform in the region. AirAsia’s travel and lifestyle mobile “Super App,” will support this. Meanwhile, Vertical consistently state, its craft will be flying commercially by 2025.

Avolon has now placed 90 percent of a 500 VX4 order book, underlining the demand and popularity for the aircraft from some of the world’s leading airlines.

Dómhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon, said, “Tony Fernandes is an aviation pioneer who has built AirAsia into one of the leading airlines in the world and has now also created Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing Super App anchored on travel.”

He continued, “We are delighted to partner with AirAsia who share our vision of revolutionising the future of air travel and look forward to working with Tony, and his team, on their eVTOL journey.”

Tony Fernandes, commented, “Innovation has always been in our DNA and using technology to look at more efficient and sustainable ways of doing things is a core focus across Capital A.”

He added, “The digital era is now. In the VX4, we have identified what we believe will be the eVTOL aircraft of choice and we are thrilled to be the launch airline for the aircraft in Southeast Asia.”

Tony Fernandes and Dómhnal Slattery

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vertical, remarked, “AirAsia provides many fantastic opportunities to travel around some of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world, and I am thrilled that we will be bringing zero emissions flight to people all across Asia.”

It is unclear which SPAC Fernandes may choose for his AirAsia float, but when combined with the “Super App” and the already existing eVTOL footprint, this is an attractive share to look out for in 2023.

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