AirAsia says Philippines, Japan are next priority

Posted at 01/28/13 3:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - AirAsia, the region's biggest low-cost airline, says Philippine and Japanese operations are its next priority after Thailand and Indonesia.

AirAsia Inc. Chairman Tony Boy Cojuangco, Philippine Seven Corporation president and CEO Jose Victor Paterno and AirAsia Inc. CEO Maan Hontiveros officially launched the Payment Partners option in Makati City.

The Malaysia-based budget carrier released its 5-year plan today, saying it will keep its focus on flights of about three hours and on building domestic businesses in countries with large populations.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes says that means Thailand and Indonesia first, and then the Philippines and Japan.

"As Malaysia now becomes a cash machine, the management turns it focus to its other core markets in Thailand and Indonesia where we foresee these entities generating similar profits to Malaysia in the future," Fernandes said.

"The other focus is to develop our new entities in Philippines and Japan whereby in terms of LCC penetration, it is still at its infancy and there is utmost growth potential," he added.

AirAsia Philippines started flying out of Clark last year. Tony Boy Cojuangco, Mikey Romero and Maan Hontiveros are listed as the owners.

It is competing with Cebu Pacific, the Philippine Airlines group, the SEAIR-Tiger Airways partnership and Zest Air.

AirAsia's 5-year plan means shelving plans for longer flights to China and India and putting on the back burner for now, domestic operations in less populous countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Korea.

AirAsia has 118 planes and 361 more to be delivered.

Tie-up with 7-Eleven

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines and Philippine Seven Corp. signed a payment partners agreement last week.

Under the agreement, guests can pay for their Philippines’ AirAsia booking reservations at any 7-Eleven store nationwide.

"We know that we made the right choice by launching this payment innovation with 7-Eleven. Our partnership brings more payment convenience so that everyone can have an easy, hassle-free access to AirAsia’s super low fares and promos," AirAsia Inc. CEO Maan Hontiveros said in a statement.

"AirAsia and 7-Eleven are committed to provide convenience and quality service to our customers. With this new cash payment system, AirAsia passengers will experience the ease and convenience of our 24/7 service," Philippine Seven Corporation president and CEO Jose Victor Paterno said.

AirAsia is currently offering promo fares from as low as P699 for Davao and Kalibo; P999 for Taipei and Hong Kong and P1,499 for Singapore. Travel period is from January 24 to May 22. Booking period is open until February 3. - With ANC