Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Air Asia looking to set up an affiliate in the Philippines, could be good news for Clark ..

Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd wants to have new associate units in the Philippines and Vietnam to strengthen its footprint in the Asean region.

AirAsia now has a 49 per cent stake each in affiliate airlines Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia.

"It will be great to have operations in the Philippines and Vietnam - the two biggest countries in Asean that we have yet to establish a base in," group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes told Business Times in an interview last Friday.

By setting up affiliate airlines in the two countries, AirAsia will have access to a combined population of roughly 180 million.
"We have been offered a lot of joint ventures around the region and this shows the power of our brand," Fernandes said.

However, he has not set a time frame for the expansion as AirAsia is still searching for the right partners and working on securing licences from the respective governments.

Fernandes said the planned venture with Vietnam's shipbuilding giant Vinashin to form a Vietnamese low-cost carrier was frozen by the Vietnamese government.

AirAsia had signed a letter of intent in 2007 for a 30 per cent stake to set up its third affiliate airline, Vina AirAsia, which was to have been operational by the middle of last year.

According to a Vietnamese daily, its government has since told state-owned companies, such as Vinashin, to focus on their core activities.

Furthermore, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has proposed to its Transport Ministry not to issue new airline licences in Vietnam until 2011.

"But we are very patient. After all, we waited seven years to get the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route. So I'm sure it will happen," Fernandes said.

He added that his ultimate vision was for all the AirAsia affiliates in Asean to become a single entity.

"My dream, without sounding like Martin Luther King, is that we are one airline in the end. Basically, for us to become one quoted company in Asean."

In the meantime, AirAsia will continue to position itself as an Asean company and strive to be a dominant airline in the region.

No comments:

Post a Comment