AirAsia Incorporated, the Philippine-based affiliate of AirAsia Group, has chosen Clark as its hub in the country.
The airline, which was established in December 2010, will be basing its operations at Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. The airline plans to start operating international flights from the airport in the fourth quarter of this year.
Clark is strategically located just north of Manila and is easily accessible to 23 million people from the National Capital Region and Central and Northern Luzon. It is also where the airline’s sister company, Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad, has been flying to from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu since 2005.
Hontiveros, Antonio O. Cojuangco Jr. and Michael L. Romero own 60% of AirAsia, Inc. in equal partnership. The remaining 40% is owned by AirAsia Berhad.
With the announcement, Clark will become the 13th regional hub of the ASEAN-based AirAsia Group, which currently includes AirAsia, Inc., AirAsia Berhad, AirAsia Thailand and AirAsia Indonesia. The group’s 12 current hubs are Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang in Malaysia; Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai in Thailand; and Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan and Bali in Indonesia.
The opening of AirAsia, Inc. is seen as a vote of confidence in the country’s growing economy and as a big boost to the archipelago’s airline and tourism industries. It will leverage on the strength of AirAsia Group, which leads the low-cost airline industry in Asia. The group has over 60 destinations in all 10 ASEAN countries, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Australia. Through the group’s low-cost long-haul affiliate AirAsia X, its guests are able to fly to more destinations in Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, India, Iran, Korea, Japan, France and the UK. AirAsia Group has a young fleet of approximately 90 Airbus A320 aircraft, while AirAsia X has a fleet of 11 Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft.