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Business

Zest Air denies buy-in of China's Hainan Airlines

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MANILA, Philippines -  A top official of Zest Airways denied newspaper reports that they have signed an agreement with a Chinese airline during President Aquino’s state visit to China and that the latter bought a 40 percent stake in their company.

In a statement, Arturo M. Alejandrino, Zest Air spokesman and member of its board of directors, said “Zest Air wishes to clarify that no memorandum of understanding has been signed between Hainan Airlines and ZestAir. Further, Hainan Airlines has no investment in Zest Air.”

Zest Air acquired its eighth Airbus last month and is scheduled to ferry its ninth A320 by mid-October this year. The Airbus 320 can carry from 168 to 180 passengers per flight while the Airbus 319 can carry up to 144 passengers.

Alejandrino said Zest Air plans additional international flights out of Manila by first quarter of 2012 such as Manila-Incheon flight, Manila-Shanghai Manila-Kuala Lumpur and Manila-Jinjiang direct flights. 

As part of a long-term program, Zest Air plans to acquire additional aircraft on top of its existing fleet which consists of seven A320s, one A319 and three MA60s.

Aside from mulling over the acquisition of two B-777s for its intended long haul flight to the Middle East early next year, the airline is set to add two more airbuses before 2011 ends. 

On the domestic network, with the addition of Manila-Cagayan De Oro route last July and Manila-Zamboanga by December of this year, Zest Air now flies to a total of 19 domestic destinations.

It flies five times daily to Cebu, thrice daily to Davao during peak season and more than ten times daily to such popular stops as Manila to Boracay via Kalibo.  Iloilo, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, and Puerto Princesa are among the major routes of the airline.

Zest Air also has regular flights from Bacolod, Legazpi, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarman, Masbate, Marinduque, and San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. 

Zest Air flies to four international destinations and takes passengers from Kalibo to Incheon, Pusan, Taipei and from Cebu to Incheon and Shanghai. Zest Air has been flying to and from Kalibo and Incheon since Dec. 21, 2010; and twice weekly to and from Shanghai since Jan. 24, 2011.

It won’t be long before passengers from such places as the Republic of Palau, Singapore, Bahrain, and Dammam get their chance to fly direct to many of the Philippines’ best tourist destinations.

AIR ALEJANDRINO ARTURO M CEBU HAINAN AIRLINES INCHEON AND SHANGHAI JULY AND MANILA-ZAMBOANGA KALIBO MANILA ZEST ZEST AIR
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