AirAsia Philippines Welcomes Senate Support For More Airport Slots

airasia philippines welcomes senate support for more airport slots

AirAsia Philippines Welcomes Senate Support For More Airport Slots

  • Senate President Zubiri calls for more landing slots for local carriers to enhance connectivity in the Visayas and Mindanao regions in the Philippines, with AirAsia Philippines supporting the initiative.
  • Additional slots will enable AirAsia Philippines to expand its network, revive flights to various destinations, and provide affordable airfares to more passengers, according to AirAsia’s country head for communications and public affairs.
  • Unused slots during the pandemic were given to other carriers, but many are still unallocated, presenting an opportunity for AirAsia Philippines and other airlines to utilize them for the benefit of the aviation industry.

Recently, Juan Miguel Zubiri, President of the Senate of the Philippines, urged the legislature to bolster connectivity throughout the country’s Visayas region and the island of Mindanao, by providing more landing slots to local carriers. AirAsia Philippines, a leading low-cost carrier in the island nation, has welcomed Zubiri’s call with great support.

A slot pair, which is a permit issued to an operator to land and take off at a specific time, allows a carrier to perform scheduled commercial flights at an airport. By providing carriers like AirAsia Philippines with more slots, the airlines will be able to expand their networks in the regions identified by the senate president, helping the aviation industry within the nation continue to grow.

The announcement

This announcement came at a recent budget briefing by Zubiri at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) when the politician suggested that unutilized slots be given to airlines that can operate them in order to allow for more connections. In this way, Filipino citizens will be able to benefit from the increased service and elevated connectivity, especially from low-cost carriers.

In his address, Zubiri felt the need to call out AirAsia Philippines specifically, saying the following words:

“AirAsia is buying more planes and their problem is that they cannot use the planes because they have no slots. I’m just lobbying for our passengers because we need more flights, particularly Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and other destinations in the Philippines.”

Likely, Zubiri’s statement is a response to recent words from Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia Philippines’ parent company Capital A. In June 2023, Fernandes announced that AirAsia Philippines’ fleet would double in size by 2024.

Find more news about Asian aviation here

AirAsia Philippines’ Response

Quite obviously, AirAsia Philippines, which has been targeting expansion in recent months, was excited by Zubiri’s press conference, and the airline’s leadership is optimistic about expanding in the regions named by the senate president. In a statement Steve Dailisan, AirAsia country head for communications and public affairs, had the following words to share:

“Additional slots will also allow AirAsia to revive flights to Zamboanga, Dumaguete, General Santos City, and expand frequency in Cagayan de Oro which is also a gateway to Northern Mindanao. This, in turn, will give AirAsia the upper hand to continue to provide the best value airfares and best travel deals as we continue to democratize air travel for everyone.”

According to the Department of Transportation, slots that were unused by passenger airlines during the pandemic were given to other carriers able to operate those flights, such as cargo airlines. Now, many of these slot pairs have been left vacant and are yet to be reallocated.

AirAsia Philippines was founded 13 years ago in December 2010, with an eye on developing the low-cost sector in the country. Currently, the airline connects 29 destinations across the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region with a fleet of 18 narrowbody Airbus A320 jets. The carrier’s operating bases are located at Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB), Clark International Airport (CRK) and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL).

Source: SunStar

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