Cojuangco forms budget airline with Air Asia

By Julito Rada

December 7, 2010

MALAYSIAN low-cost airline Air Asia is forming a local subsidiary with telecom heir Antonio Cojuangco to fly to select domestic routes, Board of Investments managing head Cristino Panlilio told reporters Monday.

Panlilio said he was told of the plan by Air Asia chief executive Tony Fernandes at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ finance ministers’ meeting in Kuala Lumpur last week.

The planned Philippine subsidiary should start commercial operations next year, Panlilio said without adding details.

Cojuangco was chairman and chief executive of Philippine Airlines during the early Cory Aquino years after his group won the bidding for the privatization of the flag carrier.

Air Asia began offering regional flights to and from the Philippines out of Clark in April 2005.

Fernandes told Bloomberg last week that Air Asia, Asia’s largest budget airline with 100 planes in its fleet, planned to acquire as many as 12 planes a year and was seeking opportunities in the Philippines, Vietnam, China and India.

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