AirAsia Zest's top exec weighs in on Cebu Pacific-Tigerair deal


Posted at Feb 13 2014 03:58 PM | Updated as of Feb 13 2014 11:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines – AirAsia Zest on Thursday said it will not oppose the recent acquisition of Tiger Airways Philippines by Gokongwei’s Cebu Pacific.

Philippines' AirAsia president Maan Hontiveros said although the $15 million acquisition will boost Cebu Pacific’s fleet, AirAsia Zest remains unfazed.

“I see no reason to oppose it. It will make Cebu Pacific bigger, but that’s okay," Hontiveros said.

"It just consolidates the number of airlines operating which means that aside from Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines we are seen as the alternative airline," she added.

Hontiveros said AirAsia Zest is planning to increase its current fleet of 12 to about 14-16, adding that two of the four Airbus A320 aircraft are expected to arrive in the first half of the year.

"The fleet plans will change. It is very, very fluid," she said.

Cebu Pacific, which is in the middle of a $4 billion refleeting program, currently has a fleet of 49 Airbus aircraft.

Tigerair Group, meanwhile, consisting of Tigerair Singapore, Tigerair Mandala, Tigerair Philippines, and Tigerair Australia, is operating a fleet of 51 Airbus A320.

Five Airbus A320s are being used by Tigerair Philippines.

Hontiveros said AirAsia Zest is considering mounting flights to Nagoya and Osaka in Japan, and some parts of China and expanding its domestic routes via Manila and Kalibo.

AirAsia Zest flies passengers to Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, and Tagbilaran, as well as international points in Asia including China and South Korea.

Hontiveros said the unit of AirAsia Berhad in the Philippines may partner with AirAsia X for possible long haul flights.

"That (long haul operations) is always a possibility. If we do long haul we will partner with AirAsia X," she said, adding that Air Asia Zest is mulling plans to return to Clark international airport after transferring to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Philippines AirAsia and ZestAir entered into a strategic alliance agreement in March 2013.

Hontiveros said Philippines' AirAsia is now seeking Congressional approval to acquire 100 percent of ZestAir.