AirAsia Brings Food to the Ground

Airline opens fast-casual restaurant that sells same pre-packaged meals travelers get in-flight.

December 09, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysian airline company AirAsia opened up a restaurant that sells something you can usually only get in one place, high above the sky: plane food. The New York Post reports that the same pre-packaged meals the airliner serves on flights are now available at a fast-casual restaurant named Santan, located inside a Kuala Lumpur mall.

By 2025, there may be 100 of these restaurants across the globe. Meal options include roasted chicken with teriyaki sauce and Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak dish. Some items will cost just $3. The restaurant will also serve coffee, tea and desserts.

“We have seen a significant appetite for our in-flight menu offerings beyond our flights across the region and this is our answer to that demand,” said Catherine Goh, general manager of AirAsia, in a press release.

Customers will use a smart menu that features artificial intelligence and machine learning to recommend popular dishes and revisit past orders.

In previous interviews, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said that the airline hopes the new strategy highlights the quality of the food and eventually will become a “lifestyle brand” that can keep consumer eating habits among Asian companies, rather than Western ones.