Low-cost carrier AirAsia will have its headquarters in Clark as soon as the infrastructure there finishes under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, its chief executive officer (CEO) bared to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.
“I need the NLEX, SLEX connector. These may be done by late next year. I need the MRT to be finished in three years. There are already P2P buses from NAIA to Clark,” AirAsia Philippines CEO Dexter Comendador said.
All these things were the carrier’s problems when it started operating in Clark in 2013, he added.
“That’s the reason why we left Clark for a while. We started there with two planes, but passengers from Manila could not go there because of the aforementioned connectors,” Comendador noted.
AirAsia Philippines has operated in Clark from 2013 to 2015, he related.
The Malaysian airline CEO acknowledged the Philippine government’s efforts in addressing the problem.
“As soon as (President Rodrigo) Duterte assumed his office, the CEOs of different airlines met with him and told him our problems in the aviation industry, hence the ‘Build, Build, Build’. As you can see, there are also several airports being built. The President stayed true to his word, and we’re glad about it,” Comendador shared.
In preparing for AirAsia’s comeback in Clark, he said he already put one plane there since the start of 2018.
The AirAsia Group currently has 220 planes, and it targets to more than double this to 520 planes in the next 15 years.
“(AirAsia Philippines) should have a total of 22 planes by the end of the year. Currently, we have 18. On average of five planes a year, that will be 50 planes in 10 years. So we should have 72 planes 10 years from now,” he revealed.
The CEO added that he’s already thinking where he can put the additional 50 planes, and that he’s thinking of Clark Airport for this.
Meanwhile, Comendador said part of AirAsia Philippines’ strategy is to develop a secondary hub, and exposing this to the whole network of AirAsia Group.
“When I create that hub, it’s going to be connected to our international network, just like what we did in Kalibo, Cebu, and in Panglao when it opens. In Davao, we have already introduced the Davao-Kuala Lumpur route,” he said.
Comendador added that for the past 16 years, the group already has 50 million loyal customers in its database. (PNA)
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