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AirAsia hoping to start Beijing service by Q4

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PHILSTAR

PHILIPPINES AirAsia, Inc. said it hopes to open a new route to Beijing by the fourth quarter to tap the growing Chinese market.

Dexter M. Comendador, AirAsia Philippines president and chief executive officer, told reporters Wednesday the company is monitoring the development of a new airport in Beijing to explore the possibility of opening a service to connect to the Philippines.

When asked about new destinations that the company is looking at opening, Mr. Comendador said, “Maybe Beijing, pagbukas ng bagong airport nila (once it opens the new airport).”

“(We’re looking at) last quarter of this year,” he added.

Mr. Comendador was referring to Beijing Daxing International Airport, China’s second international airport in Beijing, which is currently under construction and is expected to open before the year ends.

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He noted flight entitlements — the right to operate international air services to and from a country — are currently in place between Beijing and Manila. But the lack of airport slots at both ends is keeping the airline from opening a route.

“Walang slot (there are no slots) on both ends. I mean, Manila, mahirap (it’s difficult). Beijing, kailangan magbukas muna yung bagong airport. (for Beijing, the new airport has to open first),” he said.

AirAsia Philippines is also scheduled to launch a daily service between Manila and Osaka on Monday, July 1.

On Aug. 1, AirAsia Philippines will also start offering thrice weekly flights to Kaohsiung in Taiwan from its hubs in Cebu and Clark.

The company hopes to swing to a profit by the end of the year after recording a loss of P2.11 billion in 2018.

It reported a profit of P424.5 million in the first quarter, up 12% from a year earlier, following a 27% rise in revenue. — Denise A. Valdez

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