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AirAsia eyes PHL flights to Russia via Vietnam

PHILIPPINES AIRASIA, Inc. is eyeing more routes from Vietnam after launching its inaugural flight from Manila to Ho Chi Minh over the weekend.

Philippines AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Dexter M. Comendador told reporters late Friday at the send-off ceremony in Pasay City the airline will evaluate the possibility of connecting Russia to the Philippines through Vietnam.

“I’ve been looking at Vladivostok for a long time. I told Tony about that. I’m looking for a route that would fit them in,” Mr. Comendador said, referring to AirAsia Bhd. CEO Tony Fernandes.

Vietnam attracted some 400,000 Russian visitors last year, according to reports, citing the former’s national tourism agency.

Philippines AirAsia flew its maiden flight from Manila to Ho Chi Minh late Friday. There will be three weekly flights scheduled every Tuesday,Friday and Sunday.

“We did our homework. It’s about time we do the route not only because of the possibility na kikita siya (it will earn) but because of our commitment to ASEAN,” Mr. Comendador said.

AirAsia is the only airline that directly flies to 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with operations in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Malaysia’s AirAsia is ordering an additional 14 Airbus A320ceo (current engine option) aircraft to meet strong demand in various markets, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and India.

Philippine operations stayed profitable in the third quarter — a seasonally lean period for airlines — as a result of its “pricing scheme” that resulted in higher than expected passenger load.

“It’s supposed to be a losing quarter, but this is the first time we did well,” Mr. Comendador said.

By: Krista A. M. Montealegre
Source: BusinessWorld