AirAsia bullish on Philippine air travel growth potential

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philippines-airasiaMalaysia’s budget airline AirAsia is gearing up for a re-fleeting program in 2016, hedging on the potential of the Philippine market. Chairman Tony Fernandes said he is optimistic about the “jewel” growth potential of AirAsia Philippines, which is 40 per cent owned by the Malaysian low cost carrier.

“I am really optimistic that we got a little jewel here. The more and more time I spend in the Philippines, I begin to see that there is so much potential on various things that we haven’t thought about,” Fernandes said.

But he added that the performance of its Philippine unit is still not at par with others in the region.

“It won’t be easy but I am beginning to see that the pain that we have gone through is worth it. It has been a rough ride I am not going to pretend that it has been a walk in the park,” he added.

Fernandes said the group would maxmise AirAsia Philippines’ existing fleet of 16 aircraft before it starts its re-fleeting programme with the airline possibly returning to Clark International Airport after a connector road is completed. AirAsia Group is currently standardising the fleet of AirAsia Philippines and ZestAir.

AirAsia Philippines and ZestAir, owned by former Ambassador Alfredo Yao, formed a strategic alliance in March 2013 rebranding both airlines as AirAsia Zest. With this partnership, AirAsia Philippines acquired 85 per cent economic interest, around 49 per cent voting rights and 100 per cent interest in Yao’s Asiawide Airways Inc.

Yao’s Zest Air, in exchange, got $16 million and 13 per cent interest in AirAsia Philippines. The proposed complete takeover of ZestAir was also approved by the House of Representatives. The partnership allowed AirAsia Philippines to fly out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) instead of the CIA in Pampanga.

Fernandes admitted that the airline’s operation in Clark did not work as planned.

“It has been hard because Clark did not work and we thought Clark would be easier but the market was not prepared to go that far. We have to acquire ZestAir and an acquisition is something that I have never done before,” he said.

AirAsia Zest currently flies to local destinations Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Cebu, Davao, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, and Cagayan De Oro, and to international destinations in China and South Korea.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia is gearing up for a re-fleeting program in 2016, hedging on the potential of the Philippine market. Chairman Tony Fernandes said he is optimistic about the “jewel” growth potential of AirAsia Philippines, which is 40 per cent owned by the Malaysian low cost carrier.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

philippines-airasiaMalaysia’s budget airline AirAsia is gearing up for a re-fleeting program in 2016, hedging on the potential of the Philippine market. Chairman Tony Fernandes said he is optimistic about the “jewel” growth potential of AirAsia Philippines, which is 40 per cent owned by the Malaysian low cost carrier.

“I am really optimistic that we got a little jewel here. The more and more time I spend in the Philippines, I begin to see that there is so much potential on various things that we haven’t thought about,” Fernandes said.

But he added that the performance of its Philippine unit is still not at par with others in the region.

“It won’t be easy but I am beginning to see that the pain that we have gone through is worth it. It has been a rough ride I am not going to pretend that it has been a walk in the park,” he added.

Fernandes said the group would maxmise AirAsia Philippines’ existing fleet of 16 aircraft before it starts its re-fleeting programme with the airline possibly returning to Clark International Airport after a connector road is completed. AirAsia Group is currently standardising the fleet of AirAsia Philippines and ZestAir.

AirAsia Philippines and ZestAir, owned by former Ambassador Alfredo Yao, formed a strategic alliance in March 2013 rebranding both airlines as AirAsia Zest. With this partnership, AirAsia Philippines acquired 85 per cent economic interest, around 49 per cent voting rights and 100 per cent interest in Yao’s Asiawide Airways Inc.

Yao’s Zest Air, in exchange, got $16 million and 13 per cent interest in AirAsia Philippines. The proposed complete takeover of ZestAir was also approved by the House of Representatives. The partnership allowed AirAsia Philippines to fly out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) instead of the CIA in Pampanga.

Fernandes admitted that the airline’s operation in Clark did not work as planned.

“It has been hard because Clark did not work and we thought Clark would be easier but the market was not prepared to go that far. We have to acquire ZestAir and an acquisition is something that I have never done before,” he said.

AirAsia Zest currently flies to local destinations Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Cebu, Davao, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, and Cagayan De Oro, and to international destinations in China and South Korea.

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