Bureau of Internal Revenue

Airline execs: bye AirPhil, hello Zest Air!

Budget airline AirPhil Express has been hit by an exodus of executives ever since it was taken over by the San Miguel group.

MANILA, Philippines – Air Philippines Corp., operator of budget airline AirPhil Express, has been hit by an exodus of executives ever since it was taken over by the San Miguel group.

Four top executives of the company have quit their jobs and are now working for rival Zest Airways Inc. They include Rick Laig (now CFO of ZestAir), Brian Hogan (executive adviser), Steve Allen (chief commercial adviser) and Alfredo Herrera (chief marketing and sales officer).

Herrera, who was AirPhil senior vice president for sales and marketing, confirmed they moved to Zest Air last April 16.

“We had a good talk,” he said, referring to Zest Air owner Alfredo Yao. “When we jumped in with Zest Air we still maintained our old positions,” he noted.

Herrera said one more AirPhil executive is expected to join Zest Air soon. 

AirPhil is the low-cost arm of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, which is now 49% owned by the San Miguel group. San Miguel director Iñigo Zobel is the new president of AirPhil, while San Miguel president Ramon Ang is president of PAL.


With the experienced execs on board Zest Air, Herrera said a relaunch of the airline is in the offing. “We will spread the wings of Zest Air very soon. We are gearing up to be a better airline. Exciting things will be announced.”

Zest Air is the Philippines’ fourth-biggest airline in terms of passengers flown.

With a fleet of 14 aircraft, it flies to 19 domestic and 7 international destinations, including newly launched routes from Manila to Jinjiang and Quanzhou in China. 

It said flights from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Incheon are scheduled to be launched this year, while it is mulling direct flights to the Middle East. – Rappler.com

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