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Air Asia set to fly to Japan next year

Philippines Air Asia plans to expand its operation to Japan by late next year, its top executive said over the weekend.

“We are able to get new entitlements to Japan. Maybe by late next year we will fly to Japan because in the first half I will be focused on the China routes,” Philippines AirAsia chief executive Joy Cañeba said. 

Philippines Air Asia operates a fleet of 12 aircraft serving domestic destinations such as Kalibo (Boracay), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Tagbilaran (Bohol), Cebu, Davao and Tacloban. They also fly to China and Korea.

Cañeba added stockholders approved an increase in the authorized capital stock to up to P5 billion from P2 billion. 

“We already have discussion, so I think first quarter of next year we will have it in place. It will be in tranches, I don’t see all the additional increase will come in one tranche but it will be sufficient to cover the growth expansion next year,” Cañeba said.

She said the existing shareholders were willing to infuse fresh capital into the company. 

Malaysia’s Air Asia, through AA International, owns 40 percent of Philippines’ Air Asia Inc., while Filipinos Marriane Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and Alfredo Yao hold the balance of 60 percent. 

Cañeba said the company planned to lease five A320 aircraft from Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad, which will be deployed in China and South Korea. 

“If you look at the yield, they [Chinese and Koreans] have the purchasing power to actually pay for a travel going to the Philippines. Our China and Korea markets are doing very well,” said Cañeba. 

She added the company’s planned initial public offering would be moved to the first quarter of 2018 from the original target of 2017. 

“The IPO will definitely happen,” Caneba said, adding the company planned to raise $200 million from the share offering. 

The Philippine unit of Malaysia’s AirAsia secured the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission to acquire 100 percent of Zest Airways Inc.

“I’m hoping before the year ends, the transfer would be completed. It’s a matter of legal work,” Cañeba said. 

The Senate committee on public services in December last year approved the sale of Zest Airways to Philippines AirAsia. The House committee on franchise also gave its consent in February last year.

Philippines Air Asia incurred a net loss of P777 million in the April-to-June period, down 40 percent from P1.3 billion year-on-year.

Revenue during the period rose 6 percent to P2.3 billion from last year’s P2.2 billion.

The airline attributed the higher revenue to a 6-percent increase in passenger traffic to 976,381 this year from 924,155 passengers last year. 

Load factor expanded to 80 percent from 77 percent over the same period.

Philippines AirAsia aims to turn in a profit in the fourth quarter of this year and expects a full-year net profit in 2016.

Topics: air asia
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