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AirAsia flies Superapp into the cloud

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AirAsia is a Malaysian low-cost airline that operates domestic and international flights to more than 165 destinations in 25 countries. It is the largest airline in Malaysia by fleet size and destinations served. AirAsia Launched Superapp in October 2020. The mobile app for Android and Apple originally focused on flights and related services, but as the Covid-19 pandemic severely restricted international travel, it was clear that AirAsia needed to broaden its scope.

Adding services such as food delivery, taxis, and hotels to Superapp proved to be highly successful. To date, the app has been downloaded 40 million times, with 13 million monthly active users, and 15 product and service offerings.

“Most of our services are on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), so everything we run is in containers,” says Danial Hui, Head of Software Engineering at AirAsia at MongoDB.local Kuala Lumpur. “For Superapp and the AirAsia.com website, all our applications are connected to APIs and microservices.”

AirAsia at MongoDB.local Kuala Lumput

With Superapp’s rapid rise in popularity, the previous database’s scalability and quota limits were causing problems.

“Superapp is really a collection of apps that work quite differently and have different database needs. We switched to MongoDB because it has integration and geospatial functions that work very well for us,” adds Hui. “Most of our microservices are now on MongoDB. It’s flexible, it’s agile, and it complements our microservice architecture.”

We realized that as a growing company, we might not be able to invest so much energy, skill sets or resources into managing MongoDB,” Hui explains. “That was one of the main drivers of why we went for MongoDB Atlas.

Time to market was also an important factor. With AirAsia looking to scale to five countries in 15 months, representing a 1,000% growth rate, being able to automatically set up multiple clusters in different countries was a substantial benefit.

Another key feature that attracted Hui was the multi-cloud capabilities of MongoDB Atlas. AirAsia’s cloud provider of choice is Google Cloud Platform, but in territories where demand for resources can be unusually high, such as Singapore, the ability to switch to AWS has been highly advantageous.

“The multi-cloud aspect of MongoDB Atlas is excellent; it works seamlessly,” concludes Hui. “We only use it when we absolutely have to, but it ensures that we never have any issues.”


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