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AirAsia to Form Philippine Venture With Cojuangco

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Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- AirAsia Bhd., Southeast Asia’s biggest budget carrier, plans to form a Philippine unit by the first quarter of next year, Philippine Board of Investments head Cristino Panlilio said.

The Philippine venture will be formed with Antonio Cojuangco, a former chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., and start flying domestic and overseas routes in 2011, Panlilio said by phone today. Cojuangco is President Benigno Aquino’s cousin and a nephew of San Miguel Corp. Chairman Eduardo Cojuangco.

Sepang, Malaysia-based AirAsia may expand into the Philippines as airlines including Cebu Air Inc. increase their fleets and services to meet rising demand in the archipelago. The government has set a target to double tourism arrivals in six years to help spur economic growth.

Today is a national holiday in Malaysia. An e-mail to AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes didn’t immediately receive a reply.

Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd., the budget carrier backed by Singapore Airlines Ltd., on Nov. 23 said it will lease two planes to South East Asian Airlines or SEAir and form a marketing venture to expand into the Philippines.

SEAir flights from Clark, north of Manila, to Singapore will start Dec. 16 and be offered through Tiger Air’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cecilia Yap in Manila at cyap19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: To contact the editor responsible for Rebecca Evans at revans6@bloomberg.net

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