AirAsia may name planes after 2 Filipino celebs: CEO

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2017 08:26 PM | Updated as of Oct 29 2017 08:42 PM

KUALA LUMPUR - AirAsia may name its jets after 2 Filipino singers, as it seeks to grow market share in one of the region's fastest-growing economies and court more millennials to fly low cost, its CEO said Sunday.

The Southeast Asian carrier will name some of its aircraft after people who have made an impact on the company starting next month, Tony Fernandes told ABS-CBN News. The 2 Filipinos, whom he refused to immediately identify, will join the ranks of Michael Jackson and Manny Pacquiao.

“The idea is we all have great experiences in life and some people have contributed to those experiences and we want to remember them,” he said.

“It’s not just about Manny Pacquiao or the biggest singer,” he added.

Fernandes said AirAsia would keep fares low to attract more millennials, who want to fly to relatively unexplored places, preferably those that their parents wouldn't normally go to.

The Philippines, with its archipelagic geography and growing tourism industry is Asia's "best-kept secret," Fernandes said on the sidelines of his book launch here.

He said he was particularly surprised by a video of his staff swimming with whale sharks in Cebu.

Puerto Princesa is AirAsia's top local destination in the Philippines while Malaysia and Macau dominate demand for international travel, he said.

AirAsia holds 11-percent market share in the Philippines behind Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. It has 13 percent of the domestic market and 8 percent of the international market, according to its 2016 Southeast Asia group annual report.

“We’re not intimidated. We don’t have to be, it’s a huge market. I feel like airlines in Asia waste too much of their time trying to kill each other,” he said.