Thursday, 18 June 2009

Philippines' Zest Airways beefing up fleet

Jeremiah F. de Guzman with AFP

BUDGET CARRIER Zest Airways, Inc. is adding two new aircraft in preparation for the anticipated boost in passenger traffic during the next peak season.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Zest Air Chairman Alfredo M. Yao, confirmed that the airline has purchased two Airbus A320s, which would be delivered in July and in October.

"Buying two new aircraft is just part of our business’ economies of scale," he said.

At an air show in Le Bourget, France, Airbus announced that Zest Airways had placed a firm order for a medium-range Airbus A320 airliner.

The airline already operates two of these aircraft which it bought on the market for used aircraft.

Airbus did not give the value of the order, but the catalogue price for the aircraft is about $77 million (_55.4 million).

Mr. Yao said Zest Air would add more flights given that the peak season is coming.

"We had lean months in the second quarter, which is the usual case, but we expect that it will ramp up by next quarter," the Zest Air chairman said.

Zest Air operates domestically with destinations that include Cebu, Iloilo, Legaspi, Marinduque, Naga, San Jose, Mindoro, Bacolod, Calbayog, Catarman, Kalibo, Tacloban, and Virac.

"As soon as papers of the new aircraft are settled, it will be operational and will result in adding more regional flights and routes," Mr. Yao said.

Recently, budget carrier Cebu Pacific Air said it had placed orders for five more Airbus A320s, ending up with 15 pending orders.

The Gokongwei-led budget airline also said it was still studying whether it should order five more to support its continued expansion.

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