Airline exec: Goodbye Zest Air, hello AirAsia PH
MANILA, Philippines - The year 2012 is not yet over but veteran airline executive Alfredo Herrera has said two goodbyes and two hello's in the local airline industry.
On Sunday, October 28, AirAsia Philippines CEO Maan Hontiveros confirmed that Herrera has already joined the Philippine unit of the Malaysian-based budget airline.
"Freddy Herrera is our new commercial head. He was marketing head at Zest [Air] but quit to join us," Hontiveros confirmed to Rappler. AirAsia Philippines is the newest player in the local aviation industry.
Herrera was chief of marketing and sales at Zest Airways, Inc., another local budget airline in the highly competitive airline industry in the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,100 islands most conveniently reached by tourists and locals through air travel.
He joined Zest Airways only in the summer. Zest Air is Philippines' 4th biggest airline in terms of passengers flown. Banking on the entry of a new investor, the airline was then poised for an ambitious rebranding and an upcoming relaunch--tasks that Herrera was supposed to oversee.
Herrera was among the group of executives who transferred last April to Zest Air from Airphil Express, the budget arm of legacy carrier and Philippines' biggest international carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL). Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. bought controlling stakes in PAL and AirPhil Express around the same time.
Aside from Herrera, Rick Laig (CFO of ZestAir), Brian Hogan (executive adviser), and Steve Allen (chief commercial adviser) quit Airphil Express to work for rival Zest Air.
The local airline industry is ripe for consolidation as jet fuel prices and stiff competition continue to hit profits, according to Bach Johann Sebastian, Chief Strategy Officer at JG Summit Holdings, the parent firm of Cebu Pacific Air, the country's biggest budget carrier.
Cebu Pacific is reported to be eyeing Zest Air, but CEO Lance Gokongwei denied talks are ongoing. - Rappler.com