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5:35 pm on 13 September 2023, Wednesday
By Aira Miranda
In a strategic move towards bolstering connectivity in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, AirAsia Philippines has voiced its support to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri's proposal for the equitable allocation of airport slots.
In the world of aviation, an ‘airport slot’ is essentially a permit granted by the airport administration to airlines, enabling them to utilize the takeoff and landing facilities.
During the recent 2024 Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its affiliated agencies’ Budget Briefing, Senator Zubiri emphasized the importance of distributing unutilized slots to carriers capable of immediate operations. He specifically lauded AirAsia Philippines, recognizing their efforts to expand their fleet with 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 underscored.
Steve Dailisan, AirAsia's Country Head for Communications and Public Affairs, and a First Officer, emphasized, “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.”
Dailisan further detailed the benefits of these additional slots, including the revival of flights to Zamboanga, Dumaguete, General Santos City, and increased frequency in Cagayan De Oro. These expansions would empower AirAsia to continue offering competitive airfares and exceptional travel deals, aligning with their mission to democratize air travel.
Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista clarified that slots left unused due to reduced flights during the pandemic were allocated to airlines willing to operate during that period. However, he assured that the DOTr will conduct an evaluation in conjunction with the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), ultimately prioritizing AirAsia for available slots.
As of September 2023, AirAsia Philippines operates 312 weekly flights to 14 local destinations, boasting an impressive average load factor of 91% per flight.
AirAsia Philippines is poised to introduce A321neo and A330 aircraft in the coming year, a move aimed at enhancing services for guests, particularly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).