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AirAsia launches new chatbot powered by AI, machine learning 

From left to right: Maryanna Kim, Head, Corporate Communications & Consumer Affairs, Bo Lingam, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group, Kesavan Sivanandam, Chief Airport and Customer Experience Officer, AirAsia Aviation Group, and Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A welcomes Ask Bo. — AIRASIA

By Brontë H. Lacsamana, Reporter 

MALAYSIA — Capital A Bhd, the parent company of low-cost carrier AirAsia, introduced on Wednesday its new chatbot Ask Bo, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to replace its previous bot AirAsia Virtual Allstar (AVA) launched in 2019. 

The group said AVA handled about 43 million queries at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, which showed them that advanced technology is needed to address complex concerns, especially those about refunds and flight changes.  

“Over the last eight months, the customer experience team have zeroed in on what our guests need and want, what their top complaints are, and today we are happy to introduce Ask Bo, named after our airline group CEO Bo Lingam,” Capital A Chief Executive Officer Anthony Francis “Tony” Fernandes said during a briefing here on Wednesday. 

“He has been at my side for the past 21 years and is the go-to person with all answers to our group’s airline questions,” he added.  

Ask Bo will also provide live updates on flight status and changes, like delays and boarding and departure times, on the airasia Super App and website in over seven languages, including Filipino.  

Kesavan Sivanandam, AirAsia Aviation Group’s chief airport and customer experience officer, said the bot will send notifications on any last-minute changes on the day of a flight, give baggage information for tracking, and report real-time updates of departure timings into guests’ electronic boarding passes.  

“Our guests will have more autonomy – they will be able to change flights, request refunds, choose service recovery options. By March, our guests will also be able to talk live to our human agents, during the Ask Bo interaction,” he said.  

More features will be rolled out in the coming months, added Mr. Sivanandam. Specific technologies that AirAsia is looking into include facial recognition, non-fungible tokens, and mobile gifting.  

Mr. Fernandes said of their Super App: “We hope Filipinos will spend a lot of time on it going forward apart from just buying an AirAsia ticket.”  

In the Philippines, a better bot for refunds is needed due to the pandemic and typhoons that caused several canceled flights from 2020 to 2022, AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo P. Isla said. 

“About 40% of these refund requests have been accomplished while 50% agreed to just credit their refunds to a different flight or save the credit points for future flights,” Mr. Isla told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of the briefing in a mix of Filipino and English.  

The group said it will take six months to attend to the remaining 10% of refund requests from Filipinos.

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