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*IPO* Philippines AirAsia Inc.
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Philippines AirAsia pushes IPO back to mid-2018

ILOILO CITY — Philippines AirAsia, Inc. is looking to conduct its initial public offering (IPO) by mid-2018.

“BDO’s working on it, hopefully by the middle of next year, we’ll be able to get it,” Philippines AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Dexter M. Comendador told reporters on Sunday, referring to BDO Capital and Investments Corp. which has been tapped as underwriter for the deal.

Mr. Comendador said the company expects to raise up to $250 million from the public offering, which will be used mainly to expand its facilities.

“We need hangars, we need a new office building,” he said, adding the new office of Philippines AirAsia would be located most likely in Clark, Pampanga.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes earlier said the planned IPO of the Philippine and Indonesian units is part of a plan to consolidate its Southeast Asian units under one listed holding company.

“Our first step is to list Philippines and Indonesia for my One AirAsia plan, where we have all the AirAsia units go public. Malaysia and Thailand are public. Not sure which one will come first, Philippines or Indonesia, but both are going to go public very soon,” Mr. Fernandes said at the sidelines of the International Paris Air Show in June.

Under the One AirAsia plan, Mr. Fernandes said he wants to form an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) community airline by combining its units in Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia under a single holding company. The move is expected to yield economies of scale and help AirAsia establish a dominant position in markets where it operates.

On Sunday, AirAsia launched the maiden flight of its Manila-Iloilo route. The low-cost carrier will service the route with three flights daily using its fleet of Airbus A320s that can accommodate up to 180 passengers.

At the same time, AirAsia is also planning to launch new flights from Manila to Indonesia in the first quarter of 2018.

Mr. Comendador told reporters AirAsia will launch direct flights from Manila to Bali and Jakarta by January and February.

The budget carrier will also mount direct flights from Manila to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam starting November.

In May, the AirAsia Group reported that the Philippine unit posted an operating profit of P400 million in the first quarter of 2017, attributed to a rise in passenger count by 19% and surge in revenues by 41%.

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AirAsia Philippines adds Bali, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh flights

MANILA - (UPDATE) AirAsia Philippines said Thursday it would add flights from Manila to Bali and Jakarta in Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The budget carrier said it would offer promo fares for as low as P2,950 from Thursday until Oct. 22 for the Saigon route. The discounted fare will be for flights from Nov. 17 to April 30 next year.

Flights to Jakarta and Bali will start in January next year, AirAsia said in a statement.

"It is an exciting time for all of us in the Philippines as we continue to bring the country closer to our neighboring cities within the Asean region and beyond via AirAsia's inter-Asean connectivity and massive network," AirAsia Philippines CEO Dexter Comendador said.

AirAsia Philippines' current international destinations include Shanghai, Taipei, Incheon, Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Guangzhou, and Singapore.

The carrier will have 17 planes by the end of 2017 and 24 by next year, with a target to bring the entire fleet to 70 in 10 years, Comendador told reporters.

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AirAsia PH chooses Clark as main hub of operations

The Philippine unit of Southeast Asia’s largest budget airline plans to establish Clark International Airport as its main hub as the government removes navigational fees to support operations.

“We plan to establish Clark as our main hub, because Manila is too crowded. If I have 70 planes in 10 years, I do not have a place to park in Manila. So, the government was gracious enough to comply with our request. We need more airports,” Capt. Dexter Comendador, chief executive of Philippines AirAsia, said.

The airline plans to have a total 26 aircraft by end-2018.

Comendador said the government removed airport fees and navigational fees in Clark and was also expected to remove travel tax to attract more passengers to fly in Clark.

“Since we are opening Clark as a hub, we plan to fly to Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei,” Comendador said.

AirAsia launched commercial flights at Clark in 2012 before transferring its hub to Metro Manila following a strategic partnership with ZestAir in 2013.

Philippines Air Asia resumed flights from Clark with three weekly flights to Kalibo (Boracay) in March.

AirAsia Philippines operates a fleet of 17 aircraft with domestic and international flights out of hubs in Manila, Cebu and Kalibo.

The airline operates several flights to/from Manila, Davao, Cebu, Kalibo, Caticlan (Boracay), Tacloban, Tagbilaran (Bohol), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Clark, and Iloilo in the Philippines with international flights to/from Shanghai, Taipei, Incheon (Seoul), Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Guangzhou, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.

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.

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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.

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