Air Asia has filed a petition to the Civil Aeronautics Board in The Philippines for designation and allocation of entitlements to fly to the United States. In the same petition, it also requested that it be designated as the official Philippine carrier. A hearing for both requests will be held on September 10.
The low-cost carrier is part of AirAsia Inc and is based at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, alongside the present Filipino flag carrier Philippine Airlines. The airline was formerly known as AirAsia Zest until January 2016 and solely serves destinations in Asian countries such as China, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Currently, Philippines AirAsia operates a fleet of 24 Airbus A320s. The airline would likely acquire a fleet of Airbus A330s, similar to AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate AirAsia X Thailand, for U.S. service. However, no comment has been made by the airline about any potential services or fleet changes.
Philippines AirAsia would be able to serve the United States should its petition be granted under the Philippines – United States of America Air Transport Agreement.
The Philippines doesn’t currently receive many nonstop flights to the United States, with Philippine Airlines operating the most routes by serving Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Honolulu from Manila, as well as Guam — an American island territory — which is also served by Cebu Pacific and United Airlines. Delta Air Lines also has a presence in the Philippines with a flight from Tokyo’s Narita airport.
This means that Philippines AirAsia could be the first low-cost carrier to reach the U.S. mainland from Asia, with Singaporean Scoot reaching as far as Honolulu and Cebu Pacific only getting to Guam.
AirAsia also serves Thailand, Malaysia, India, Japan and Indonesia. Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian operations also have sister carriers known as AirAsia X, which operate long-haul low-cost flights between their respective hubs and destinations such as Australia, Korea and Japan. They use a fleet of both A320s and A330s, and AirAsia X Thailand recently received its first Airbus A330neo.