Air Asia X To Open Philippine Hub

Takes Over Clark Operations 
as short haul subsidiary invades NAIA

12 October 2013

After failing to make its low cost carrier brand worked in Clark International airport, Malaysia-based Airline AirAsia Berhad is preparing to bring into the Philippines its long haul subsidiary brand Air Asia X for flights to Australia, the Middle East and the United States.

AirAsia Zest chairman Michael Romero said AirAsia X will operate from Clark airport in two years time after they consolidated the operations of its short haul subsidiary out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 4.

“Our business model of making Clark our regional hub is not working for us. But Clark is now becoming a long-haul facility for airlines, and we are taking their cue” Romero said.

Earlier, the Malaysia based company infused another $100 million into Zest Airways operations to expand its fleet operations.

Owners of Air Asia Zest include AirAsia Berhad which hold the majority share of 40% while the rest belongs to Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco Jr., Marianne Hontiveros and Alfredo Yao.

“We will formally relaunch as Air Asia Zest. We will acquire more planes. Right now, we have 13 planes. We’ll go to 16 planes before the end of the year,” Romero said.

Air Asia Philippines will fly the Air Asia X brand while Air Asia Zest will take charge of its short haul operations feeding traffic to the former.

Romero, who is vice chairman of AirAsia Philippines, explained the necessity of building its domestic and regional network from AirAsia Zest as it would pool traffic from Manila's short-haul flights and transfer them to Clark for AirAsia X long haul flights.

Air Asia X intends to operate a mix fleet of 5 Airbus 330-300 and pairs of Airbus 350-900 planes initially out of Clark Airport says Romero, with the A330 all being bound to the Middle East and Australia while the A350-900 is intended for US destination particularly Los Angeles.

The Air Asia group intends to  ferry passengers between the two airports from NAIA to Clark and vice versa.

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