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Friday, July 10, 2009

> AirAsia launches low-cost courier service

Budget carrier AirAsia today launched "Redbox", an express courier service it says will be 50 percent cheaper than its rivals.

AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes said the new venture would expand the low-cost carrier's non-airline revenue and help protect it from future oil-price spikes.

"There is a huge untapped consumer market. I don't think many individuals use courier services," he told a news conference.

Fernandes said the Malaysian courier industry was worth RM500 million annually and that he intended to capture RM30 million of that in the first year, a goal he said was "easily achievable."

The company is billing Redbox - named after the airline's signature colour - as the world's first low-cost courier service.

"It will build strong revenue, and bring costs down for business so they can be more efficient," Fernandes said.

Currently, 12 percent of AirAsia's revenue is from ancillary services like food sold on planes, and Fernandes is aiming to boost that figure to 20 percent within the next few years.

AirAsia is partnering with Mail Boxes Etc, which will provide collection points for packages, and technology consulting firm DMSBT, which will establish an Internet service to track individual shipments.

Transport firm DHL will convey cargo to and from the airport.

Redbox will initially operate only within Malaysia, and next year extend to AirAsia's 65 destinations in Australia, Britain, China, India and Southeast Asia - AFP.