AirAsia PH hikes domestic trips by 54%; revives SG and HK flights | Inquirer Business
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AirAsia PH hikes domestic trips by 54%; revives SG and HK flights

/ 05:18 AM November 26, 2021

AirAsia Philippines is gearing up for a strong comeback in December as it ups weekly domestic flights by 54 percent and prepares for the reopening of trips to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Anticipating a sharp increase in holiday travel and easing COVID-19 restrictions, AirAsia Philippines will mount 126 flights per week next month compared to 82 in November.

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“We are ready and all set to start getting back to recovery,” AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla said at a media briefing on Thursday.

The airline is ramping up flights in popular routes such as Manila to Boracay’s Caticlan Airport with 28 weekly flights as well as Manila-Tacloban and Manila-Cebu, each with 21 weekly flights.

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Flights from Manila to Iloilo, Bacolod and Kalibo will go up to seven times per week; Tagbilaran, 11 times per week; Puerto Princesa, six times per week; and Cagayan, five times per week.

Isla said they would also maintain a strong presence in Davao (seven times per week), Zamboanga (four times per week) and General Santos (twice per week).

Surging passenger volume

The budget airline will also revive operations to Singapore on Dec. 4 and Hong Kong on Dec. 5 this year.

AirAsia Philippines “outperformed” its regional affiliates during the period, with passenger volume surging higher by 167 percent to 180,971 from July to September, parent firm AirAsia Berhad said in a regularly filing late Tuesday.

Load factor, which measures the utilization of seats, went up 21 percentage points to 77 percent.

The airline ended the period with 24 Airbus A320s, unchanged from the same period in 2020.

While expecting strong demand from overseas Filipino workers in those territories, Isla said most of their growth in the near term would come from local flights.

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“Domestic is top priority” he said, citing still-soft demand for overseas travel.

“Passengers, frankly speaking, still look at the quarantine requirements in their point of destination,” he said.

International travel could recover faster if the government increases the daily cap on foreign arrivals to 10,000 from 4,000, he said.

—MIGUEL R. CAMUS
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