Air Asia not bent on flying Cebu, Davao

Expands to Medan and Phuket instead

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia's leading budget airline, Air Asia is not inclined to expand its services to other Cities in the Philippines other than its flights in Clark airport, instead it will focus its planned expansion in Thailand and Indonesia this year where it has a subsidiary.

The airline seeks to establish hubs at Phuket in Thailand, Penang in Malaysia and Medan and Bandung in Indonesia to aid its expansion. It however intends to connect Bangkok via Thai Air Asia, and Jakarta via Indonesia Air Asia to the low cost airport situated north of Manila.

The low-cost carrier's spokesman in its Kuala Lumpur headquarters said that the airline group is taking delivery of 14 Airbus A320s during the remainder of this year. Most will be flying for its Indonesian and Thai affiliate carriers.

AirAsia currently has bases in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta as well as a hub in Denpasar Bali in Indonesia which it opens last year and hubs in Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.

THE Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) Business Council (BEBC) is already communicating with Air Asia for the opening of Davao-Kota Kinabalu route, Antonio Santos, BEBC chair, told reporters in the Philippines.

But the airline said that it may not be ripe to fly the route considering that it has thin traffic. It even has doubts if it can support Cebu flights judging from the traffic figures of Malaysia Airlines. They however admit seeking rights to fly the route in the future but cannot say for certain when they intend to commence service hinting that its not possible within the next two years.

AirAsia was founded in 2001 and is the biggest low-cost carrier in Asia, with about 400 daily flights from hubs in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to more than 60 destinations in Austral Asia and Indian subcontinent.

The airline flew to London Stansted airport on March 11, 2009 as the next low-cost long-haul flights to the UK this time from Kuala Lumpur. The first plane carried a full load of 286 passengers to London’s Stansted airport. Air Asia says it’s considering upping the frequency of the flights from five a week to daily.

Last year, Oasis Airlines, which flew from London to Hong Kong, went bust in April, while Zoom, which flew to the US and Canada, filed for bankruptcy in August. The airline lasted just 18 months before collapsing last year as high fuel costs and intense competition on the Hong Kong-London route dragged it down.

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