Zest continues its drinking spree to Bacolod

Launch flight on March 16

March 11, 2009

BACOLOD CITY — Low cost airline Zest Airways, Inc., formerly Asian Spirit Airlines, will launch its maiden flight to Bacolod and intends to slug it out with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific on lucrative Manila - Bacolod route starting on March 16, 2009.

The airline controlled by juice magnate Alfredo Yao, will offer competitive rates and dring all you can Zest-O juice drink in flight said Mark E. Hilario, Zest Air assistant vice-president for sales and marketing. Its one way fare starts at 788 pesos.

According to Bacolod-Silay Airport manager Antonio Alfonso, the airline is set to deploy an Airbus 320 aircraft to service daily Manila flight. It will be the third airline serving Negros Occidental after Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific Airways. Air Philippines doesn't currently fly to Bacolod. The airport is the 6th busiest airport in the Philippines in terms of passenger traffic.

The inaugural flight to Bacolod will depart from the Manila domestic airport at 12:55 p.m. and is expected to land at the New Bacolod-Silay Airport at 2:10 p.m. while the flight from Bacolod is expected to depart at 2:50 p.m. and arrive in Manila at 4:05 p.m.

Meanwhile, the flight to Iloilo will depart from Manila at 4:50 p.m. while its maiden flight from Iloilo is scheduled to fly out at 6:25 p.m. The one-way all-in fare to Iloilo cost is P488 only.

The airline is undeterred by the slowing economy and the price wars between bigger rivals Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Mr. Hilario said that the "The challenge really is how we can create a travel need through good package and competitive rates."

Zest Air intends to offer a better service than what Cebu Pacific or Air Philippines currently does, and one of them is by offering drink all you can Zest-O juice drink in whatever flavor the passenger would like.

Zest Air flies to Caticlan, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarman, Marinduque, San Jose and Virac from Manila. Other Zest Air new regular routes starting this month are Iloilo, Legaspi, Naga, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Kalibo, Tacloban and Tagbilaran.

Zest Air application for rights to fly the Middle East, particularly Kuwait and UAE, Hong Kong and Guangzhou in China and Kota Kinabalu of Malaysia has already been forwarded to foreign government counterparts for their approval. It also intends to fly back to Sandakan soon. It will also re-introduce by middle of this year service to Macao and South Korea from points in Clark, Kalibo, and Davao.

The airline is also negotiating to lease 2 Boeing 767 for its medium haul routes to the middle east by July and 3 additional Airbus 320 for its domestic and regional expansion.

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