MANILA, Philippines — Low-cost carrier Zest Airways Inc. has named Michael Romero of the Philippines AirAsia group as chairman, replacing Donald Dee, who stepped down voluntarily.
The leadership change following the entry of PH AirAsia in Zest Air is causing flight delays and cancellations, Romero said.
Romero explained in a text message sent to reporters that Zest Air is in a period of adjustment due to new international systems and procedures being introduced by PH AirAsia.
PH AirAsia is using international engineering standards in maintaining Zest Air’s fleet of 10 Airbus A320s.
Romero said that “this phasing or changes in engineering policies is just temporary as this is part of the integration stage.”
He added Zest Air would run on 100% efficiency ratio, with zero delays in a few weeks.
In May, juice magnate Alfredo Yao inked an agreement with PH AirAsia, giving the latter 85% economic interest and 49% voting interest in Zest Air. Yao also sold 100% of Asiawide Airways Inc.
In exchange, Yao got $16 million cash and 13% stake in PH AirAsia, the Philippine unit of Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad.
PH AirAsia operates out of Clark, Pampanga, and Zest Air flies out of Manila, Kalibo and Cebu.
Zest Air is under “heightened” surveillance by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). The regulator said they are looking into the carrier’s maintenance program following flight cancellations due to mechanical problems.
Romero said they are working closely with CAAP on the matter. He said they “fully support the requirements of the engineering department to make sure that our aircraft are properly maintained and safe for public transport.”
Zest Air cancelled 8 flights on August 1 and 9 flights on August 2 due to “aircraft situation.” In July, the carrier cancelled a total of 33 flights. – Rappler.com
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