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04
Jan

AirAsia PH wants flights to India

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By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Budget airline Philippines AirAsia wants flights to India and has sought the Philippine government’s approval for the right to launch a route to New Delhi.

Philippines AirAsia, the domestic unit of Malaysian budget carrier giant AirAsia Berhad, filed an application with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) last month, a regulatory filing showed.

According to the filing, the airline was seeking an allocation of seven weekly flights to New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, via Bangkok, Thailand. This was in accordance with the existing air services agreement between the Philippines and India, it said.

The CAB has set a hearing on the matter on Jan. 10, 2017.

The move was in step with a strategy to broaden its market share in the Philippines for both domestic and international markets.

Philippines AirAsia, which took over Zest Airways, controls about 10 percent of the Philippine commercial aviation market, which is still dominated by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air.

AirAsia Bhd Group CEO Tony Fernandes said last month he remained bullish on their prospects in the Philippines. Philippines Air Asia, which has yet to post a full-year profit, would be back in the black by 2017, the airline said in a financial filing.

Fernandes noted that the carrier would soon be able to finance its own expansion plans.

He said Philippines  AirAsia would accelerate plans to hold an initial public offering in the Philippines, originally eyed in 2018, to next year. He said this would raise over $200 million.

Philippines AirAsia, which still relies on AirAsia Bhd for financial support, has a fleet of 15 Airbus A320s, which it uses for domestic and regional routes.

Philippines AirAsia reported a net operating loss of P914.8 million, lower by 2 percent, while net loss after tax narrowed 12 percent to P1.2 billion for the third quarter of 2016, a filing with the Malaysian Stock Exchange showed.

The airline continued to grow, with revenues up 24 percent to P2.57 billion. Philippines AirAsia said this was due to an 8 percent increase in passenger volume, and increase in average fares by 21 percent to P2,245.