AirAsia sees lower volume due to delay in release of permit

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 24 2012 08:26 AM | Updated as of Jul 24 2012 04:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Budget airline AirAsia Inc. has lowered its projected volume of passengers this year by 30 percent due to the delay in the release of its permit to operate from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

AirAsia chief executive officer Maan Hontiveros said in an interview with reporters during the roll out of its “Piso Fare Promo” that it is now looking at servicing 600,000 passengers instead of the original target of 857,000 on the first year of its operations.

Hontiveros pointed out that the airline’s air operating certificate (AOC) was released only last March instead of the projected date of December.

She explained that the airline missed on important occasions including Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, among others due to the delay in the release of its permit.

However, Hontiveros said the airline is upbeat that the lowered target would still be achieved this year with the introduction of various promos including the previous “Zero seat sale” and the “Piso Fare.”

“We still think we can meet it barring any unforeseen circumstances,” she stressed.

According to her, AirAsia is also addressing other concerns including accessibility to Clark, the fare charged by bus companies as well as the lack of information about airlines operating at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

She said bus companies are now charging P400 from SM Megamall in Ortigas and P450 from Pasay City to Clark.

The airline currently operates two A320’s servicing three domestic destinations and three regional destinations. It is awaiting the delivery of its third A320 in November and its fourth A320 in December.

The low cost carrier yesterday launched its Piso Fare promo for all local and international destinations including Fly-Thru service from Clark International Airport including Sydney and Perth in Australia as well as Davao, Kalibo, and Puerto Princesa.

“This promo is a testament to our commitment to stay competitive and provide the best value for Filipinos to travel at the lowest cost but with the best quality service,” Hontiveros said.

About 1,000 seats are up for grabs going to Perth via Kuala Lumpur where passengers would only have to pay P3,683 for airport tax, connecting fee, and fuel surcharge as well as P4,285 for passengers going to Sydney via Kuala Lumpur.

On the other hand, about 10,000 seats await regional and domestic passengers of AirAsia. Passengers going to Kuala Lumpur would have to shell out P601 while those going to Hong Kong and Macau would have to pay P401. Domestic passengers are required to pay P276 for those going to Davao, Kalibo, and Puerto Princesa.

Guests could book their seats starting today to July 29 and could travel between July 25 and Oct. 31.

AirAsia is a 60-40 joint venture between Filipino investors Antonio Cojuangco, Michael Romero, and Hontiveros and Malaysia’s AirAsia International Ltd. It started servicing daily flights in March 28.