AirAsia to add 5 planes to Philippines operations

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MANILA: AirAsia plans to add five Airbus A320s next year to support its Philippine unit’s regional expansion, according to a report in the Manila Standard.

“We are excited [about the Philippine market]. We are going to add five aircraft next year, which is the first time that we are adding for a while. We are doing very well and we are making money,” AirAsia Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes was quoted as saying.

The airline currently has 13 operating aircraft servicing domestic destinations such as Kalibo (Boracay), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Tagbilaran (Bohol), Cebu and Tacloban. They also fly to China, Korea, Macau, Taipei and Hong Kong.

AirAsia Philippines Chief Executive Dexter Comendador said the airline planned to expand operations to Bangkok, Singapore and Vietnam.

“We are working on it because Manila is congested. Any new planes we have to put outside Manila. We will probably go out to Cebu, Kalibo and Clark,” Comendador was quoted as saying by the Manila Standard.

The report said AirAsia Philippines had filed an application with the Civil Aeronautics Board for 1,260 weekly seats entitlements in accordance with the existing confidential memorandum of agreement signed by the Philippines and Korea in November 2015.

“Koreans are one of the biggest tourist market in the Philippines. We expect to be adding more flights to Korea by October,” Comendador told reporters at the sidelines of AirAsia’s Asean Heroes 2016 event.

AirAsia Philippines flies to Busan and Incheon in Korea from Manila, Kalibo and Cebu.

AirAsia Philippines earlier reported a drop in net losses by 30.6 per cent to P539.1 million (RM47 million) in April to June from P777 million in the same period last year.

Revenue in the period grew 11 per cent to P2.57 billion from P2.33 billion last year, as passenger volume increased 3 per cent year-on-year and average fare rose 14 per cent, according to the Manila Standard.

AirAsia Philippines carried 1.005 million passengers in the second quarter, up from 976,381 passengers last year.