AirAsia, Asia's biggest budget airline, is considering to transport durians around the region as part of a plan to use its trucks and planes to send food straight from farms to restaurants.
The Malaysia-based airline's agriculture e-commerce platform Ourfarm has a network of 7,000 trucks for pickups and deliveries in the Kuala Lumpur area, and is readying planes to quickly transport fresh produce including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, into Singapore and Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak in the next three to four months.
"It's the durian season now and we're working very hard to get them on board," Ourfarm Chief Executive Officer Lalitha Sivanaser said in an interview. "The Singaporeans, the Thais, as well Indonesians have reached out for durian exports using our platform."
The pandemic triggered disruptions in food supply chains around the world, snarling logistical operations and choking transport of fresh produce as multiple government lockdowns shut borders, closed ports and curbed trade.
The crisis has also troubled the airline industry. AirAsia is among many global airlines facing financial difficulties because of widespread flight cancellations. It plans to reduce costs by at least 30 per cent this year by deferring aircraft deliveries, cutting salaries and reworking fuel hedging, and is in talks for possible joint ventures for additional investment.