AirAsia PH seeking Congress approval of Zest Air takeover

12 October 2013

The local unit of Southeast Asia's largest budget airline is seeking the Philippine Congress' approval of the takeover of Zest Air.

"We have already submitted our application to the Committee of Franchise. [But] we haven't reached the official inclusion in an agenda for Congress deliberation," Joy Caneba, AirAsia Zest executive vice president and chief operating officer told reporters.

Caneba said Philippines AirAsia plans to acquire more than 51 percent of Zest Airways Inc., which has been re-branded to AirAsia Zest.

"Hopefully, we can get it by the end of the year," she said.

Philippines AirAsia holds an 85 percent economic stake and a 49 percent voting interest in Zest Air, which in turn owns a 15 percent stake in the former.

AirAsia group owns 40 percent of Philippines AirAsia. The remaining 60 percent is held by Marianne Hontiveros, Michael Romero, Antonio Cojuangco and former ambassador Alfredo Yao.

Caneba said the Securities and Exchange Commission, Civil Aeronautics Board and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines already approved the rebranding of Zest Air into AirAsia Zest.

"Effective last week we were able to roll out a new brand, so Zest Air is now rebranded to AirAsia Zest. With the Air Asia name on board, we feel that we are able to offer better service and convenience to the passengers. There would be a lot more product and services that will be rolled out in the couple of months and years to come," Caneba said.

With the rebranding, she expects an increase and improvement in passenger traffic.

"Zest has a very good brand but I think with Air Asia name backing up, that should give more leverage and comfort to the passengers. So, we expect an increase in traffic for both domestic and international route.  For 2013, we expect to grow at least 15 to 20 percent," Caneba added.

The airline will launch flights between Cebu and Puerto Princesa, Davao and Cagayan de Oro starting November 15 with an all-in promo fare of P553. Also, Cebu-Kuala Lumpur flights would be offered at a promo fare of P680.

AirAsia Zest serves Kalibo (Boracay), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Cebu, Davao, Tagbilaran, and Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines and international points in Asia including China and South Korea.

AirAsia Zest operates a fleet of 13 servicing nine domestic and four international routes from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

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