(CEO Dexter Comendador takes the spotlight at the AirAsia All-Star Gala and Awards Night. Photo by Bong Lacson)
CLARK FREEPORT – Philippines Air Asia (PAA) is now coming home in Clark.
This was the message of PAA president and chief executive officer Dexter Comendador during the Air Asia All Star Gala and Awards Night at the Midori Hotel and Casino here on Tuesday where top travel agents from all over the Philippines gathered.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is AirAsia thanking you and embracing Clark, our real home,” said Comendador in his speech the event.
He said it is in Clark where the dream of an airline company started.
“It feels so good to be back where our dream started,” he said.
Comendador also feted PAA chairperson Maan Hontiveros who was also present during the event.
“It was Maan who was our CEO then and the only female CEO of a local airline at that time who asked me in 2011 if I want to join her team… and set up a new airline that will revolutionize the way Filipinos travel,” Comendador said.
“Knowing her solid background in starting a ‘revolution’ (no pun intended Maan) , I know she is not ‘sales talking’ me to it… I felt challenged and overwhelmed with delight to be given a chance to drive change in the aviation industry that I have served for more than 35 years now,” he said.
“We have come a long way since then with Maan, Tony our group CEO and all the daredevils, trailblazing team and partners we have,” mused Comendador as he recalled PAA’s beginnings with only two jets and now with a fleet of 20 jets. But as AirAsia group with hubs all over Asean, Asia and beyond, the multi-awarded low cost carrier has now a combined fleet of more than 200 planes.
Comendador also said as a group, Air Asia had 200,000 guests in the first year to a current 89 million guests or passengers for this year alone.
Air Asia is Asia’s largest lowcost airline with operations in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, JAPAN and the Philippines.
Comendador said along the way, “we have made dreams come true for more than 500 million people” by helping them fly for the first time, stay connected to family and loved ones, experience new places, food and cultures, and explore fresh business opportunities, empower communities, among others.
“And it’s not just our guests, but the aspirations of our Allstars we’ve supported,” he said.
Comendador said in the group, there is Kugan the office boy who turned pilot.
He said Miss Thailand was a crew who later became pilot.
In the Philippines, Comendador said several cabin crew both male and female are now pilots, some are professional nurses, dentist, CPAs who all turned pilots.
He said, “these stories inspire us to always be better. They are the fuel that drives the AirAsia dream machine to always raise the bar and surpass our limits every day.”
“It is because of our guests and our Allstars that we stand here tonight, and I would like to dedicate – our 10th consecutive Skytrax World’s Best Low-Cost Airline award – to everyone who has made this possible,” Comendador said.