Air Asia Donates US $2 Million to Typhoon Haiyan Victims

AirAsia Group has announced that together with its local partners AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Zest, it has raised US $2.17 million for Typhoon Haiyan victims from its six-week campaign, "To Philippines with Love."
Image Source: AirAsia Foundation / Facebook
Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO, accompanied by other AirAsia delegates made a special trip to Tacloban on May 23 to make the presentation, while handing out AirAsia merchandise to the local children. The Php 96, 427,616 raised will be used to rebuild 500 homes and to support livelihood opportunities for typhoon survivors.
Image Source: AirAsia Foundation / Facebook
AirAsia launched the six week campaign across its network shortly after the super typhoon struck from November 16 to December 31. The funds raised will be channelled through the Philippine Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Rags2Riches, and the Hapinoy Project Bagong Araw.

"This is our small contribution for Typhoon Haiyan victims to dream again," said Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO. "We want to regenerate the economy here and help the people stand back on their feet." Fernandes told a media conference gathered at Tacloban Airport that the campaign was started as an expression of Asean unity for the survivors. The campaign attracted donations from 75 countries around the world. 
Image Source: AirAsia Foundation / Facebook
The Philippine Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity will be responsible for rebuilding homes and shelters, while the Hapinoy Project Bagong Araw will be in charge of restoring supply chains through sari-sari stores. Project Bagong Araw will also assist in community retraining to help provide skills to victims that will enable them to join the Rags2Riches artisan network to generate income.

AirAsia was one of the first carriers to pledge support for typhoon victims offering humanitarian flights, transporting nearly 5,000 survivors and relief workers, and 400 tonnes of aid to Kalibo, Cebu, and Tacloban. AirAsia continues to provide three flights to Tacloban each day. 

Image Source: AirAsia Foundation / Facebook
Meanwhile, AirAsia Zest revealed that it intends to double its passenger volume this year as it prepares to launch new destinations in northern Asia. According to Joy Cañeba, AirAsia Zest CEO, the airline is targeting to serve 5.5 million passengers in 2014. "We are really targeting the Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese markets," said Cañeba. "My strategy is to bring more inbound traffic."

The airline is planning to construct a low cost carrier terminal on the grounds of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes believes that the group carriers can achieve a system-wide 85 percent load factor. "My goal would be to try to move to 85 percent, from the current 81 percent seat-load factor," said Fernandes. "These next two years, we have the ability to enter up to 85 percent." He added that the airline sees huge growth opportunities in the Philippine market. 

AirAsia believes that their Philippine units will be able to turn around their loss making operations in the second half of this year as routes are rationalized and costs are cut further. The group is also planning to raise their initial investment in their Philippine unit from the initial $100 million once they receive congressional approval to acquire almost full control of AirAsia Zest from local partner, Alfredo Yao. 

Fernandes is keen on adding more aircraft to the current Philippine fleet of 16, while adding more routes to increase its presence in the Philippine market, which experienced unprecedented consolidation after Cebu Pacific acquired Tigerair Philippines. "We're ready to invest, we're ready to build," said Fernandes.

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