Zest Airways earmarks P10B for fleet expansion this year
MANILA, Philippines—Local carrier Zest Airways has set a P10-billion expansion program for the acquisition of new aircraft this year alone as it adds new domestic and international routes to its network.
In a briefing on Monday, the company said it expected to more than double the number of its passenger base to 3 million from 1.23 million in 2010.
“As the newest airline in the aviation industry, Zest Air has enjoyed a growing number of passengers as it flies regularly to choice destinations in the Philippines and to an expanding list of stops worldwide,” company president and chief operating officer Alfredo Yao said.
Yao, the businessman behind the local juice drink brand Zest-O, said the company wanted to be one of the best, although not necessarily the biggest, airline in the country.
“We want our passengers to have an enjoyable and satisfying travel experience when they fly via our planes,” he said.
“We are currently expanding our fleet so we can provide [passengers] with more flights going to their favorite destinations,” he said.
Although the firm’s main hub is in Manila, the airline specializes in mounting direct flights between cities abroad to popular tourist destinations in the country.
Among these are the company’s 12 weekly flights between Incheon in South Korea and Kalibo, Aklan, the country’s gateway to Boracay Island.
The company also flies to Kalibo from Pusan, South Korea, and Shanghai, China.
This year, the company is slated to inaugurate two new flights: Between Beijing and Kalibo and between Shanghai and Cebu.
Yao said the new flights would be made possible through the acquisition of new planes. He said the company would add two new 180-seater Airbus A320 jets to its fleet by July. Two more will arrive later this year.
The new planes—two to be acquired and two to be leased—will add to Zest Air’s current fleet of five A320s, one Airbus A319 and four propeller-engine MA60s.
This will cost the company around P10 billion, which will be financed using money mainly from Yao’s juice drink business.
“We are doing this all on our own,” he said, noting that he has not found a partner who can bring anything to the company that the group could not do on its own now.
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