Home » Aviation, Ports/Terminals » AirAsia eyes expanding PH network to more Asian destinations

Malaysia-based AirAsia is looking at expanding its services in the Philippines by connecting its current Davao-Singapore flights to key cities in China, South Korea, and Malaysia.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said there is massive opportunity in the Philippines despite factors such as the ongoing Marawi siege, according to a release from the Department of Finance (DOF).

“The President [Rodrigo Duterte] mentioned the islands here and when I checked it, I said wow, it’s really amazing and we are not worried about Marawi and all that because we think tourism is tourism. People want to come here at a right price,” said Fernandes.

He earlier paid a courtesy call on Duterte, and later on Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

Dominguez told him the possibility of airports selling or leasing gates to airlines, with rates depending on the landing time, instead of imposing airport taxes.

Fernandes welcomed the proposal, saying lowering or scrapping the airport tax or departure tax in small airports will help the low-cost airline’s expansion plans in the Philippines.

Regarding airport privatization, the finance chief told Fernandes that the government is bidding out the operations and maintenance of six airports, while rehabilitation of the rest could be managed through public-private partnerships.

Dominguez added that the agency is opposed to charging airlines for the overtime pay of customs personnel working outside of office hours at the airports.

According to a joint circular issued by the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Budget and Management, up to 50% of government employees’ base salary will be given to them for working overtime.

“I don’t like it. We will [make] a hard stand on that. I used to complain about that when I was in PAL [Philippine Airlines]. You cannot earn 50 percent above your salary for overtime pay,” Dominguez said.

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