Patrick Tan Takes Over Seair

Zapanta heads subsidiary

September 15, 2012

Low cost carrier South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) has appointed Patrick Tan as President and Chief Executive Officer of Tiger affiliate Southeast Asia Airlines (SEAIR) replacing Avelino Zapanta who will now head Seair International (SEAIR I), a new company created to serve missionary routes.

“This deal represents a significant step forward for Seair and will allow the airline to continue its tremendous growth and job-creation drive for Filipinos, bringing increased prosperity, highly-skilled jobs and tourism to the country,” newly appointed CEO Patrick Tan said in a statement.

He added that Zapanta, who was “instrumental in helping Seair grow into the airline that it has become today, will continue to share his expertise and wealth of experience in his new position as senior adviser to Seair.”

Zapanta has contributed over six years of his career to bring this transaction to a close and secure a proper succession with the appointment Tan as Seair’s new chief.

“Mr. Zapanta will head SEAIR I. He will be the president of Seair I. We believe he could continue to head an airline such as Seair I since he had been with Seair Inc. before,” Greek-American Nikos Gitsis, one of the founders of Seair Inc., said in interview with Businessmirror.

Tiger Airways completed the purchase of a 40-percent stake in Southeast Asian Airlines.

Gitsis and Iren Dornier sold a combined 40-percent stake in Seair Inc. to Singapore’s budget carrier Tiger Airways for $2.5 million but lending the airline $40 million more in investment over a five-year term.

“We started a new airline called Seair International which is owned by me, Dornier, Tomas Lopez and  Geraldine Olivares. We will reposition the airline to serve missionary developmental routes and one of the things we want to do is to relaunch the Batanes flight because we removed that from Seair Inc.,” said Gitsis.

Seair I will take over the leisure routes of Seair Inc. which has now been transformed as a budget carrier. It will fly to destinations where bigger commercial planes could not land using its existing fleet of three Dornier 328s and one LET 410UVP-Es.

Gitsis said Seair I will purchase two more LET 410s next year to be able to serve more flights going to Batanes and Palawan.

“We plan to expand the fleet and position the aircraft to service missionary destinations like inter-Palawan, including Puerto Princesa-El Nido, Busuanga, Puerto Princesa-Taytay, Puerto Princesa-Cuyo, among others.  We will keep Batanes and also focus on Palawan,” added Gitsis.

Seair I is waiting for the issuance of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) before the relaunch targeted in the last quarter of this year.

“We already secured a CPCN [certificate of public convenience and necessity] from the CAB [Civil Aeronautics Board] and we are just waiting for the CAAP to issue our AOC. We will start operating Seair I by October or November this year. We have pilots and staff good and ready to go. Mr. Zapanta will come back,” said Gitsis.

Tan was previously vice president for commercial affairs before he became Chief Operating Officer, and was responsible for growing SEAIR revenues from PHP 200 million per year to PHP 1 billion per year. He was in charge of SEAIR sales and marketing activities for seven years, overseeing company relations with over 200 travel agents across the globe.

Tan is also a trustee and vice president for external affairs of Boracay Foundation Inc., an influential business group for the conservation of the famous island destination, and serves as a consultant to the board of the Flying Medical Samaritans, and is a sailing member of the Manila Yacht Club. A certified private pilot, he is also a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association (AOPA – Philippines).

Tan earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics from Ateneo de Manila University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Major in Marketing, from De La Salle University.

Seair operates a fleet of two A319's and three A320's as it flies to Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, and Kalibo, while its three turboprop D-328 flies Batanes, Palawan and Caticlan. The airline operates international routes out of Clark to Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, and Kota Kinabalu.

“Our target is to have 10 Airbus fleet within three years or less.” says Tan.-- with reports from Stella Arnaldo and Lenie Lectura.

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