AirAsia completes deal with Zest Airways
Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad has completed its acquisition of a 49-percent stake in local airline Zest Airways, giving the regional budget air travel giant a foothold in the Philippines’ main gateway in Manila.
In a disclosure to the Malaysian bourse, listed AirAsia Berhad said it had acquired 49 percent of Zest Airways for $16 million in cash and a 13-percent stake in AirAsia (Philippines) Inc.
AirAsia Berhad was also given 85 percent of all economic benefit of Zest Airways. The transaction was completed on May 10 but was made public on May 22.
“Following the acquisition, [AirAsia Philippines] will be able to access the principal Manila airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), and take advantage of the additional passenger traffic connecting to other parts of the Philippines,” AirAsia said in its quarterly report.
“Tourist arrivals in the Philippines continue to post remarkable growth, which augurs well for AirAsia and the aviation industry,” it added.
AirAsia Berhad owns 40 percent of and exercises management control over AirAsia Philippines, whose other shareholders are Filipino businesspersons Marianne Hontiveros, Michael Romero and Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco Jr.
AirAsia Philippines operates exclusively out of Clark Freeport, Pampanga. It is the only local airline that does not have a hub at Naia in Manila.
Earlier this month, AirAsia Philippines said load factors for the first quarter of 2013 had improved to an average of 76 percent, higher than 2012 levels. Load factor refers to the number of tickets sold on a flight relative to the number of available seats.
The company has the smallest aircraft fleet among local commercial airlines. Last year, AirAsia Philippines’ Airbus A320s carried 144,000 passengers.
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