AirAsia looking at 90% load factor this year with new flights


BusinessWorld Online

DAVAO CITY -- Philippines AirAsia, the local affiliate of Asian budget carrier AirAsia Berhad, is looking at an overall 90% load factor for local and international flights this year, higher than the 85% performance last year, with the introduction of new flights starting April 22.

In an interview, Dexter M. Comendador, Philippines AirAsia chief executive officer, said the parent firm is bringing in more aircraft for the expanded Philippine operations.

“We’re one of the best performers in the group right now. Last year, we targeted 80-82% load factor and we were able to go over it... Our performance is giving us more planes, that is why we’re expanding,” Mr. Comendador said during the launch of the new Davao routes last Friday.

While he did not specify how many aircraft will be added, he said AirAsia currently uses 14 for its Philippine local and international routes.

The new flights starting April 22 using Airbus A320s are: twice a day between Davao and Cebu; daily Davao-Caticlan (Boracay); thrice a week Davao-Puerto Princesa; and four times a week Davao-Clark.

With these flights, Philippines AirAsia now considers the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City as another one of its hubs.

“Davao has so much potentials to be the next ‘wonder’ or the emerging tourism giant for the Philippines and the ongoing development will bear more fruit and contribute significantly to benefit our economy,” Mr. Comendador said.

“Foreign tourists arriving in Cebu can skip the crowded airport of Manila and fly straight to Davao. With our newest routes, AirAsia would like to provide the much needed connections and tap the unserved markets, tourism and business, in Visayas and Mindanao,” he added.

Meanwhile, Department of Tourism (DoT)-Davao Region Director Roberto P. Alabado III told BusinessWorld the additional flights and routes are a very welcome development.

“We need new routes that must be served for us to lure more visitors to the region,” said Mr. Alabado.

DoT-Davao through Mr. Alabado, Mr. Comendador, and Visit Davao Fun Sale Executive Committee Chair Benjamin A. Lizada signed a memorandum of agreement last Friday for the annual summer event promoting the Davao Region. -- Maya M. Padillo and Carmelito Q. Francisco