Tuesday, 1 July 2014

AirAsia seeking flights to Burma

The domestic units of Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd., one of the region’s biggest budget carriers, are seeking flights to Burma (Myanmar), filings with the Civil Aeronautics Board showed.

AirAsia Zest said in its filing that it would seek the right to fly seven times a week between Manila and Yangon, a key commercial center in Burma. AirAsia Inc., meanwhile, said it would need 1,260 weekly seats for its Manila-Yangon flights, as well as 1,260 seats from points outside Manila.

“We are keeping our options for expansion open,” AirAsia CEO Marianne Hontiveros said when asked about the company’s plans. AirAsia Bhd., through its two units, operates a fleet of 16 mid-range Airbus planes, allowing it to serve various domestic and regional destinations.

Both AirAsia Zest and AirAsia Inc., while affiliates, are pursuing independent growth strategies pending an application for their consolidation with the Philippine Senate, Hontiveros said.

The CAB said it would hold a hearing on the requests on June 24.

A week before, Cebu Pacific Air, the country’s biggest budget carrier, and its subsidiary Tiger Airways Philippines each filed for 1,260 seats to Burma. The filings of Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways Philippines follow the signing of a new air service agreement between the Philippines and Burma last May 20.

The new memorandum allows a total of 3,780 seats, or three flights per week, between both countries.

The parties also agreed to unlimited traffic rights between all points in the Philippines, except Manila, and all points in Burma.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla earlier cited Burma’s population of about 60 million people on top of the “potential for the development of direct connectivity with the Philippines.”

The parties also agreed to modernize and update the current air services agreement between the two countries that was originally signed in 1979, Arcilla said.

Burma has been on the CAB’s radar for quite sometime, Arcilla said.

He said they had scheduled air talks with Burma in 2006 but these were called off due to the political turmoil in the country.

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