Airport infra lack hampers long-haul expansion in PH: AirAsia

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2018 06:15 AM

Maintenance vehicles are parked at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport tarmac in Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

SELANGOR, Malaysia -- A lack of airports is preventing low cost airlines like AirAsia from operating long-haul flights from the Philippines, the carrier's group CEO, Tony Fernandes, said.

AirAsia's long haul unit, AirAsia X, operates in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia but not in the Philippines, where the main airport in the capital has only one runway.

"Our dream is to fly to every continent but we need an airport. There's nowhere to land in NAIA," Fernandes told reporters here, referring to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Fernandes said AirAsia's transfer to Clark Airport north of Manila would help it expand operations in the Philippines.

While a point-to-point bus system is in place, the airline hopes a train system between the capital and Clark will also be built, said AirAsia Philippines president Dexter Comendador.

Airports and railways are among projects lined up under the government's P8 trillion infrastructure overhaul.

Several proposals have been submitted to rehabilitate NAIA, including one from a "superconsortium" 7 conglomerates, a partnership between Megawide and India GMR, and a consortium that includes billionaire shopping mall tycoon Henry Sy.