The European Union has lifted the ban on Philippines’ AirAsia, allowing the local unit of Southeast Asia’s largest budget airline to fly to European countries.
“Yes, the EU lifted the ban two weeks ago,” said Alfredo Yao, a board member of AirAsia Inc., operator of Philippines’ AirAsia.
Yao confirmed the company planned to expand routes to include Europe. AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia and Filipino businessmen led by Yao own Philippines’ AirAsia.
The EU and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and European Union are set to formally announce the highlights of the updated EU air safety list soon.
“We are expanding actually. We will have a board meeting on July 3,” Yao said.
Yao said Philippines’ Air Asia was looking at interconnecting with AirAsia X, the long-haul unit of the AirAsia Group for the company’s expansion to Europe.
Currently, only Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air are out of the EU black list of airlines.
The decision comes after the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) upgraded the Philippines to Category 1 status, allowing PAL and other local carriers to add flights to and from the US.
Philippines’ AirAsia earlier reported a net loss of P854.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, a significant improvement from P1.4-billion net loss in the first quarter of 2014.
The airline recorded revenue of P2.1 billion in the first quarter, 6 percent lower than P2.2 billion it posted in the first quarter of 2014.
AirAsia Philippines blamed the decline in revenue to the lower passenger volumes, which decreased 6 percent to 843,250 from 894,733 last year. Load factor went up by 11 percentage points to 77 percent from 66 percent.
AirAsia Berhad group chief executive Tony Fernandes earlier said Philippines’ AirAsia might be listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2018.
The Philippine unit of Malaysia’s AirAsia secured the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission to acquire 100 percent of Zest Airways Inc.
The Senate committee on public services approved the sale of Zest Airways to AirAsia Philippines in December last year. The House committee on franchise also gave its consent in February last year.
Malaysia’s Air Asia, through AA International, owns 40 percent of Philippines’ AirAsia Inc., while Filipinos Marriane Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and Alfredo Yao hold the balance of 60 percent.