AirAsia targets to clear unpaid refunds to Philippine customers by Q4

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — Low-cost carrier AirAsia is targeting to resolve the unpaid refunds for canceled flights in the Philippines during the COVID-19 pandemic by the last quarter of 2023, its top official said Monday.

In a briefing with reporters at the Philippines AirAsia headquarters in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia's mother company Capital A Group, said refunding is their top priority.

“We owe people money in the Philippines. We have a lot of refunds we need to pay back. I'm hoping to sort that out by October or November,” he said.

Philippines AirAsia has yet to give information as to the total of unpaid refunds to a still undisclosed number of customers.

With the improving business climate in the aviation industry, Fernandes wanted to expand AirAsia's operation in the Philippines.

He said the company is also looking at airports outside Metro Manila like Clark but infrastructure projects must also follow to connect the airport in Metro Manila.

“It's not just the airport that must be built, the infrastructure to the airport, the trains, the roads are equally as important. I think Clark is a great airport, and I hope the government will build a train to Clark and better buses to Clark. That's a quicker way to ease the congestion to NAIA,” the executive said.

Speculations on the change in the ownership of Philippines AirAsia are swirling in the industry.

When asked about the issue, Fernandes said he may answer the question in one-and-a-half months.

Sixty percent of Philippines AirAsia is owned by a joint venture of three Filipino businessmen while the remaining 40% is owned by Fernandes' Malaysia-based AirAsia Aviation Limited.

The businessman said he wants to invest more in the Philippines, particularly in financial technology, logistics and aviation engineering.