AirAsia PH plans to double aircraft fleet
MANILA -AirAsia Philippines targets to double its aircraft fleet by next year amid the resurgence of passenger movement following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions that grounded flights a few years ago.
Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes, in a statement on Tuesday, said the budget carrier was leasing and acquiring new aircraft to meet this goal. Currently, it operates 16 aircraft. In addition, the low-cost airline plans to add wide-body aircraft units to boost passenger capacity. The AirAsia Group, in total, has an order book of over 400 aircraft in the pipeline.
The company also reported that it has been registering growth in the past month, noting that its load factor reached 91 percent in May. “We are back,” Fernandes said.
The airline currently services 11 domestic and 13 international destinations. It eyes to expand operations in Cebu, Clark and Kalibo hubs by offering more routes to Japan, Korea and China.
“We’ve said for a long time we want to bring tourists to the Philippines, we were on our way, and then COVID came, so we will start again. This is an amazing country and deserves for the world to know about it,” the airline official said.
In the first quarter, parent company Capital A booked $546 million in revenues and has 157 aircraft flying to 165 destinations in 25 countries.
“The aviation sector has really bounced back stronger and is driven towards further growth. Leisure is very strong which continues to drive high ticket sales. Looking at the spending attitude, people will spend first on travel before anything else,” Fernandes said.
Earlier this year, AirAsia Philippines chief financial officer and AirAsia Super App managing director Raymund Berja told the Inquirer they were aiming to launch this year a ride-hailing service—AirAsia Ride—in the four-wheel segment via the company’s super app.
Such service, whose demand has increased with further mobility, is already available in Thailand and Malaysia. He shared that 5,000 to 10,000 transport network vehicle service (TNVS) slots would be a “good start” for AirAsia Ride, especially with the supply gap in Metro Manila.
Berja said AirAsia could secure a portion of the market share from industry leader Grab by providing “good price points for the riding public,” which is in line with the airline’s overall low-cost strategy.