Zest Air revives Taipei flight plan | Inquirer Business

Zest Air revives Taipei flight plan

Airline founder projecting growth in passenger volume
/ 09:12 PM August 11, 2013

Budget carrier Zest Air is reviving plans to mount direct flights to Taipei as it expects passenger volume to grow given the easing of the tension between the Philippines and Taiwan, company founder Alfredo Yao said in an interview.

The plan comes ahead of Zest Air’s intention to tap its partnership with Malaysia’s Air Asia Berhad to fly to Dubai next year, he said.

Yao said Zest Air was hoping to start direct flights to Taipei by November this year. Earlier plans to fly to Taiwan were shelved  when members of the Philippine Coast Guard shot and killed a Taiwanese fisherman in overlapping territorial waters on May 9 this year.


Due to the shooting incident, Taipei imposed punitive sanctions against the Philippines. The sanctions were recently lifted after Manila apologized formally to Taipei.


At the height of the tension, Zest Air also had to cancel daily chartered flights from Taipei to Kalibo, which is near tourist hotspot Boracay Island. The chartered service resumed about a month ago, Yao said.

“We will come up with direct flights from Kalibo to Taipei and this will give better revenue,” Yao said, adding that chartered flights would continue to service existing clients.

Yao said the company was keen on expanding outside the region. Its plan to fly to Dubai could be in partnership with Air Asia, which has a minority stake in Zest Air, via the Malaysian carrier’s long-haul arm Air Asia X.

Air Asia’s shares are held through its 40-percent stake in Air Asia Inc. ( Philippines), which owns 49 percent of Zest Air.

“We’re focusing on the tourism market,” added Yao, who is also behind juice maker Zest-O and Philippine Business Bank.

He said the airline was looking at other areas outside the Asean, although he did not elaborate.


Zest Air operates 11 aircraft on 10 domestic and 10 international routes, which include China, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

It has hubs in Manila, Kalibo and Cebu, which are major tourist destinations.

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TAGS: aviation, Business, economy, News, Zest Air

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