AirAsia Philippines said it strongly supports Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s call to boost connectivity to Visayas and Mindanao through the provision of more slots to local carriers. An airport slot is a permit issued by airport administration to airlines to utilize the takeoff and landing facilities at an airport.
During the 2024 Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its attached agencies’ Budget Briefing, Senator Zubiri stated that equal distribution of unutilized slots should be given to airlines that can operate now to provide more flights for Filipinos.
The Senate President in particular mentioned AirAsia Philippines which is now boosting its fleet through the backing of Capital A. “AirAsia is buying more planes and their problem is that they cannot use the planes because they have no slots. I’m just lobbying for our passengers because we need more flights, particularly Cagayan De Oro, Cebu, and other destinations in the Philippines,” he stressed.
AirAsia Country Head for Communications and Public Affairs and First Officer Steve Dailisan said: “Additional slots will allow AirAsia to flourish in Visayas and Mindanao especially since we also plan to grow our domestic market by 20% in 2024.”
“Additional slots will also allow AirAsia to revive flights to Zamboanga, Dumaguete, General Santos City, and expand frequency in Cagayan De Oro which is also a gateway to Northern Mindanao. This, in turn, will give AirAsia the upper hand to continue to provide the best value airfares and best travel deals as we continue to democratize air travel for everyone,” Dailisan added.
Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista explained that unutilized slots as a result of the reduction of flights during the pandemic were given to other airlines that were willing to operate during that time. However, he said DOTr would evaluate the availability of slots with the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and “will give available slots to AirAsia”.
As of September 2023, AirAsia Philippines flies 312x weekly to 14 local destinations with an average load factor of 91% per flight.
The World’s Best Low-Cost Airline is also planning on bringing in A321neo and A330 aircraft next year to service more guests, especially Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
AirAsia Philippines is reminding its guests to be at the NAIA Terminal 2 at least 3 hours before their domestic departure and 4 hours before their scheduled international departure at the NAIA Terminal 3. Guests are also advised to regularly check www.airasia.com and AirAsia’s social media pages for updated flight schedules.