AirAsia Zest Realligns Domestic Operations

Airline To Focus More on International Flights

10 March 2014

AirAsia Zest has announced today that it is realigning its domestic operations because of over capacity in the Philippine market right after Cebu Pacific announces additional flights and capacity to its network where AirAsia Zest also flies.

In a disclosure to Malaysia stock Exchange, Parent Company AirAsia Berhad said its Philippine unit has revised its route plans for the year, intending to reduce the number of aircraft in its fleet by retiring two equipments making their operational fleet from 14 to 12. It was not disclosed what equipment will be returned. 

AirAsia Zest operates a fleet of A320 and A319 aircraft. 

But Company sourced disclosed that one A320 and one A319 is expected to be returned to the lessor soon when there respective leases expires.

The remaining 14 fleet of A320's are expected to increase their operational efficiency by cutting domestic destinations in exchange for "building more international routes out of Manila and Kalibo.”

AirAsia Zest intends to make Kalibo its hub for services to Southern China and Korea which are lucrative international markets.

The airline is already the largest operator out of Kalibo International Airport.

The airline is supposed to received two more A320's at the end of the year for international and domestic expansion growing their fleet to 16 but reports of dwindling passenger numbers in the domestic front sent alarm bells to Malaysia.

AirAsia Zest's domestic passengers fell by 3.5 percent to 1.99 million in 2013 from 2.06 million they carry in 2012.

Already, the airline suspended its Bacolod and Iloilo flights last year and will reduce its daily Davao flight to six flights a week.

It is gaining more passengers however in international flights which according to the airline is more profitable to operate.

AirAsia Zest regestered a 94 percent increase in international passengers carried to 617,188 last year from 324,237 passengers in 2012.

AirAsia Zest recently launched new flights from Manila to Miri and Macau, from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur, and from Kalibo to Shanghai.

To grow its international route further, the airline has a pending application with the Civil Aeronautics Board to increase its Macau flight frequency to daily flights from the existing three times a week out of Manila airport.

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