Gov’t mulls expansion of NAIA 4

MANILA – The government is looking into a proposal to expand the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4 (NAIA 4) so it can handle more international flights.

“We have to study that kung ano ang component nun — whether PPP ba yun or government does it,” Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said, referring to the public-private partnership scheme.

AirAsia Group owner Tony Fernandes had asked the Philippine government to expand the NAIA 4 after the Malaysian airline’s local unit last October moved its operations from the Clark International Airport.

“We have requested for an expansion of Terminal 4. There is a big potential for it. It used to be just domestic terminal but it is now flying three international destinations in AirAsia Zest alone and there is a possibility to expand it,” AirAsia Zest executive vice president Joy Caneba said.

AirAsia Zest plans to fly to Japan and South Korea from NAIA 4 sometime this year.

The low-cost carrier also plans to increase its market share in Kalibo, Tagbilaran, Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.

AirAsia Zest has launched new flights from Manila to Miri and Macau, and from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur, as well as from Kalibo to Shanghai.

Another budget airline, Tigerair Philippines, is also operating out of NAIA 4.

AirAsia Philippines last March forged a partnership with Zest Air, allowing the former to gain access to the latter’s slots at the NAIA 4.

AirAsia Philippines holds an 85 percent economic stake and a 49 percent voting stake in Zest Air while the latter owns a 15 percent stake in the former.

AirAsia Group owns 40 percent of AirAsia Philippines, while Filipino businessmen Marriane Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and Alfredo Yao hold the remaining 60 percent.

The airline operates a fleet of 13 and serves nine domestic and four international routes from the NAIA 4.