MANILA, Philippines – The local unit of Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia is working out plans to fly to lucrative north Asia destinations, which it plans to mount from its Philippine hub in Clark in Pampanga.
Destinations in China, Japan and Korea have been part of the originally planned portfolio of AirAsia Philippines to complement the existing network of the airline group.
During the celebration of the 100th day of its local operations, AirAsia Philippines president and CEO Marianne Hontiveros said adding China to its network is crucial for its target of 600,000 passengers in its first year.
“Comes next are some points in China,” said Hontiveros, noting that the flights to Hong Kong and Macau are set to commence on July 19. “We need to work on adding more frequencies to Hong Kong and hopefully fly to China, Japan, Korea soon.”
Currently, local carriers’ operations to China are challenged by an ongoing suspension of travel tours to the Philippines imposed by Chinese travel agencies amid a stand-off between vessels of both countries at the Scarborough shoal in disputed South China Sea.
“It really depends on the suspension. We can’t do anything yet except to plan for the meantime,” added Hontiveros.
“Eventually, we would like to go to Japan and Korea. We need to be designated to Korea first so we filed for one before the CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board),” she said.
AirAsia Philippines started domestic operations on March 28, 2012, but its parent firm AirAsia Berhad has been operating international flights at Clark. – Rappler.com
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