AirAsia Brings ASEAN Closer

MANILA, 16 December 2010 – AirAsia, the world’s best low-cost airline , is pleased to announce that the Company through its fully owned subsidiary AA International Ltd has entered into a partnership agreement with Antonio O. Cojuangco Jr., Michael R Romero and Marianne B. Hontiveros to establish a low cost airline in the Philippines based on the successful AirAsia business model.

AirAsia will hold 40% equity in AirAsia Inc. through AirAsia International Limited, while the remaining 60% will be held in equal partnership by Antonio O. Cojuangco Jr., Michael R Romero and Marianne B. Hontiveros.

The company incorporated for the Joint Venture to be named AirAsia Inc, will leverage on AirAsia’s strength to forge into markets in China, Korea and Japan from the Philippines and will enable it to tap into existing prime markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.  These sectors will enhance AirAsia’s ASEAN regional expansion by providing AirAsia with additional routes and destinations and linking the destinations with AirAsia’s already comprehensive route network.

With 140 routes across 65 destinations and with over 400 flights daily, AirAsia connects all the capital cities of ASEAN as well as provides flights to towns hosting the region’s major heritage sites, sandy beaches, environmental landmarks and vibrant entertainment centers.  AirAsia’s regional hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand not only connect the region but also link three continents – Australia, Asia and Europe.  This ease of travel also comes at a very affordable price with AirAsia’s industry-leading low, low fares – helping bond more tightly the diverse communities of ASEAN and enhancing economic growth via tourism and business activities.

In announcing the joint-venture, AirAsia’s Group CEO, Dato’ Sri Dr Tony Fernandes said that the Joint Venture reflects its confidence in the country and ASEAN.

He adds, “We are proud to extend AirAsia’s successful low-cost business model to the Philippines and make it affordable for the average Filipino to travel domestically and regionally.  The low cost airline will also offer greater access to affordable travel to the Philippines which will help the economic growth of the country as evident in other regions where AirAsia is currently serving.

He adds, “Greater connectivity across ASEAN would not only boost economic growth by providing better access to markets but also enhance links within travel, trade and tourism.  This initiative will also help bring ASEAN closer by enabling intra-ASEAN travel with AirAsia’s connectivity and route network via our strategic hubs.”

Speaking on behalf of the Filipino shareholders, Marianne Hontiveros said the setting up of AirAsia Philippines will create healthy business competition and make air travel more affordable for Filipinos.  We look forward to serving the Filipino people and to seeing local businesses benefit from the influx of more tourists.

“The establishment of AirAsia Philippines will benefit various industries such as travel and tourism, hospitality, entertainment and retail.  It will also help the Philippines achieve its Millennium Development goals by 2015, concluded Hontiveros.

As part of the Joint-Venture agreement, AirAsia will provide technical, operational and commercial support on an arms length basis to AirAsia Inc to ensure commercial, operational, branding and service level uniformity throughout AirAsia’s operations.

The Joint Venture is expected to commence operations in the 3rd quarter of 2011 subject to obtaining the relevant approvals.

AirAsia has 140 routes in destinations across ASEAN, Hong Kong, Macau, China, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia.  Through its low-cost long-haul affiliate AirAsia X, its guests are able to fly to even more destinations in Australia, India and China, and to Taiwan, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Iran, the UK and France.

The airline, dubbed as the “Truly Asean” airline for championing tourism in the region, has flown more than 100 million guests in less than nine years of operations as a low-cost carrier. AirAsia Berhad started flights to the Philippines in April 2005.  It currently operates two daily return flights that connect Clark to Kuala Lumpur and to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

Philippine travellers wishing to fly AirAsia can now pay conveniently using their online banking account through Dragonpay.

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