Suspension just a misunderstanding–Zest Air chief

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AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The founder of Zest Air, which was suspended by air safety regulators on Friday for safety violations, claimed it was all a “misunderstanding” and he was hopeful the budget carrier would be allowed to resume flights as early as Monday after it gives its side.

In an interview with the Inquirer, ambassador and juice magnate Alfredo Yao, chair of Zest Airways Inc., said airline officials were scheduled to meet with officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Monday to submit a comprehensive action plan and answer “point-by-point” the six safety deficiencies that led to its suspension. He said the airline was already compliant.

CAAP grounded all Zest Air flights from Manila on Friday citing the following violations: The lack of a qualified accountable manager; failure to check aircraft logs, flight manifests and the weather; failure to present to the CAAP the airman license (aircraft mechanic license) during ramp inspection; occurrence of a series of canceled flight operations; refueling with passengers on board; and excessive flight duty time for pilots.

According to Yao, the most serious of the six deficiencies was the airline’s lack of a qualified accountable manager who ensures “that all flight operations and maintenance activities can be financed and carried out to the highest degree of safety standards required by the Authority.”

Yao said he had assumed the post.

He described the other issues raised by CAAP as “minor” and argued that these did not warrant suspension.

“Safety is our primary focus. It is just a misunderstanding with CAAP,” Yao reiterated but did not go into details. “We will get through this,” he added.

The suspension stranded thousands of passengers, a Zest Air spokesperson said.

Zest Air was formally established in 2008 under Yao, taking over from the former Asian Spirit. Recently, Zest Air announced a partnership with AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia.

According to CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews, Zest Air would remain suspended until it had complied with the regulator’s requirements.

CAAP said it was forced to act after the violations were reported by its inspectors.

Since July 31, it had put Zest Air under surveillance due to “a series of serious deviations and infractions of the rules and standards prescribed under the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations.”

RELATED STORY

Zest Air claims planes ‘safe, airworthy’, surprised over suspension

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  • Bulagas

    YAO ungas… lokohin mo pa kami……. suspension dahil pabaya kayo!!

  • upupperclassman

    Is Yao a qualified accountable manager? He thinks all the other issues raised by CAAP are minor to warrant suspension. So is it safe to fly with Zest Air?

  • pening_garcia

    kailan ba ibabalik yung flights nyo to legazpi?

  • ed_nique

    excessive flight duty time for pilots is minor?

  • Hunter421

    Zest only hires the most incompetent pilots. Several of their captains could not even pass to become first officers for PAL or Cebu Pacific!

  • iping2sison

    There is no such thing as minor infraction when it comes to safe air travel. It’s horrific to know that ZestAir refueled while passengers were inside the plane. It’s not minor infraction to wait for long hours for delayed flights and all of sudden flights are cancelled. ZestAir has to invest more in skilled manpower to maintain its fleet otherwise the listed infractions will someday cause accidents.

  • ryq24

    Cebu Pacific recently had a major accident that cause the closure of an airport but they were not suspended! ZestAir did not have any but were suspended! This is the Philippines so it really PAYS to know people at the top!

    • Hunter421

      Major accident? Asiana’s crash-landing in San Francisco was major. Cebu Pacific’s accident in Davao was minor.

  • delpillar

    ganun talaga sa Pilipinas.
    Kapag di ka nagbayad ng tamang lagay, they will use doctored or CUSTOMIZED legal proceedings para magkalintek-lintek ang negosyo mo.

    Pero kapag nagbayad ka ng pambusal na limpak limpak na salapi sa bunganga ng mga nasa gobyerno, kahit ang cabin crews mo ay tatanga-tanga at nagkarron ng aksidente na walang professionalism ay di ka masususpinde.

    Kung merong SULPICIO AIRLINES, kahit 5 major disasters na ang nangyari killing thousands of lives, DAHIL MAGALING MAMBUSAL ng LIMPAK-LIMPAK na salapi sa mga Pu-ta-ng nasa gobyerno ay for sure walang suspension na mangayayari.

    Kapag di ka nagbayad ng under the table, walang due process, isang pagkakamali ay tanggal kaagad or suspended kaagad licensya ng negosyo

    =======================

    Sa ngayon na 11 na ang Airbus 320 at 1 Airbus 319 ng ZEST AIR, those rivals who paid a lot of LAGAY to the regulatory agencies are feel obviously threatened. The airline will introduce more Airbus A320’s to the fleet ordered by AirAsia Philippines to be painted in AirAsia livery with one already delivered. The future infusion of NEW AIRBUS 320 series to ZEST-AIR will even make ZEST AIR the youngest jet airline operators in the Philippines.

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