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Ex-combat fighter pilot is new AirAsia Philippines CEO

 | January 12, 2017

Dexter Comendador, who won international fame for his role in a bomb explosion situation aboard a plane, is set to lead the multimillion-dollar debut of the airline at the local stock exchange.

airasiaMANILA: Seasoned combat pilot Dexter Comendador has been appointed to lead Philippines AirAsia.

Comendador will also lead the multimillion-dollar debut of the airline to the local stock exchange, according to a report in the Business Mirror.

Comendador has over 33 years of experience in the aviation industry. He served as combat pilot, flight commander and pilot instructor in the Philippine Air Force for eight years before beginning his professional career as commercial pilot in 1992.

He won fame when, in 1994, he successfully “managed an inflight bomb explosion” that earned him a commendation from then-Philippine president Fidel V Ramos, according to the Business Mirror report.

After serving as chief pilot for safety and compliance at a local budget airline, he left for overseas before returning to join AirAsia Philippines in December 2011 as chief pilot for operations. He was made interim CEO in July 2016.

“Captain Dex brings with him a wealth of aviation experience and business knowledge. He is a Filipino hero pilot, a homegrown talent with the extraordinary ability to connect, and inspire people and with ideas capable of driving change and innovation in the Philippines,” AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes was quoted as saying.

Philippines AirAsia aims to raise as much as US$200 million through its stock-exchange debut sometime this year. It plans to have a public float of about 30%. But the valuation might be increased, Fernandes said, without elaborating for fear of being “copied” by local competition.

The group also plans to migrate Philippines AirAsia from a fleet of A320s to a fleet of A320neos, which are more fuel-efficient jets produced by French aircraft maker Airbus, according to the report.


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