MALAYSIA’S AirAsia Bhd, one of the largest budget carriers in the region, has extended a $55-million (P2.5 billion) loan to AirAsia Philippines Inc. to finance the local unit’s business operations next year.
AirAsia Philippines is 40 percent-owned by AirAsia Bhd.
The financial assistance provided does not have a material effect on the share capital, shareholding structure or net assets of the company, AirAsia Bhd said.
AirAsia Philippines operates from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Kalibo International Airport in Aklan, and Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu City.
The airline said it is planning to go back to Clark International Airport when the connector road linking the North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways is built in 2016.
The connector road is a 13.4-kilometer, four-lane expressway that will run over the Philippine National Railway lines from Caloocan City to Makati City, linking the Northern and Southern Luzon Expressways.
In October last year, AirAsia temporarily suspended its flights to Davao, Kalibo, Taipei and Hong Kong from Clark International Airport.
Earlier, Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) said it was aiming to increase its passenger volume by at least 3 million in the next two years in line with efforts to establish the facility as a major transportation hub in Northern Luzon.
Emigdio Tanjuatco 3rd, chief executive officer of CIAC, said they are now focused on marketing Clark International Airport in order to attract more passengers and airlines.
“Clark International Airport has its own catchment area which I think needs to be tapped in order to attract more passengers to come to the airport,” Tanjuatco said.
The airport registered passenger volumes of 1.3 million in 2012 and 1.2 million in 2013, CIAC data show.
Rosalie C. Periabras