Air Asia Plans Long Haul Hub for Clark

The Air Asia Group is considering the possibility of transforming Clark International Airport into a hub for its long haul unit, AirAsia X, following the move of its local affiliate, AirAsia Philippines, to Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

airasia zest
Copyright Photo: Darren Koch/Wikimedia
AirAsia Philippines revealed last month that it would transfer its operations to Manila in an effort to support the operations of its strategic partner, Zest Air. Operations of both carriers will be further integrated as both carriers plan to operate and market itself under a single brand, "AirAsia Zest" which is set to debut on October 26.

The investors of AirAsia Philippines and Zest Air will be investing $100 million of fresh capital into the rebranded entity as the carrier plots a new path to profits. "We will re-launch AirAsia Zest by October 26 and the group is pumping in $100 million," said Michael Romero, Chairman of AirAsia Zest. "We will acquire three more Airbus A320's and will end this year with 16 aircraft." He added that AirAsia Zest will now concentrate on two to four hour flights out of Manila.

Meanwhile, Romero revealed that talks were on-going with Malaysia-based AirAsia X, the long-haul division of AirAsia, to operate out of Clark International Airport. AirAsia X began operations in 2007 with a focus on low-cost high-frequency, point-to-point long-haul routes. The airline focuses on deriving cost efficiencies from operating a single type of aircraft and flying from low-cost airports. "We are trying to convince AirAsia X to locate in Clark for long-haul flights, but it would take about a year or two," said Romero. "Our business model in Clark as a regional hub is not working because Clark is being converted now into long-haul services." He added that AirAsia Zest would feed traffic from its short-haul flights in Manila and transfer them to Clark for AirAsia X long-haul services to Australia, Europe, and possibly even the United States.

Romero said that the idea of setting up Clark as a long-haul hub for AirAsia X came after Qatar and Emirates decided to launch long-haul services from the airport with direct flights to Doha and Dubai. The President of Clark International Airport, Jose Victor Luciano, has also indicated that the airport is in talks with US carriers about the possibility of flying from Clark.

AirAsia X currently has thirteen Airbus A350-900 aircraft on order with an estimated entry into service in 2016. The airline currently operates A330-300 aircraft. Unlike Cebu Pacific that configures its A330 aircraft in a 436-seat all-economy configuration, AirAsia X configures its aircraft in a two-class 377-seat configuration with 12 seats in its Premium Class cabin that features full flat seating.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “Clark is being converted into long haul with the entry of Emirates and Qatar Airways,” he said


  1. Not Abu Dhabi, but Doha straight from Clark with Qatar ;)

  2. Don't they ever learn? Not many people want to fly from Clark, we are sick of the taxi mafia, the local infrastructure, the remoteness from Manila. AirAsia made a mistake, do not repeat it!

  3. what do u know about clark you ignorant moron. read about the facilities and runway in clark. they are far better than any airport in the philippines. it is promising too with the available space for expansion.

  4. It is a fact that over 2/3 of the people that 'export' themselves from the Philippines as OFWs come from north of Clark is an ideal hub for that market

  5. Air Asia denies this report. They will still operate the long haul flights out of Kuala Lumpur. Air Asia chose Cebu as its second hub after downsizing its operations in Clark. Read the The KL Times. Kuryente itong balitang to.

    1. The report did not suggest that Air Asia was planning to move long haul flights out of Kuala Lumpur. Furthermore, it was stated that it is the local management of Air Asia Philippines that is pushing for Clark as a long-haul hub, not the management of Air Asia Group in Malaysia. The local counterparts are merely asking the parent company to consider the possibility.


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