AirAsia Zest to fly to Haneda

By Louella Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 26 2014 08:41 AM | Updated as of Apr 26 2014 04:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Low cost carrier AirAsia Zest plans to launch flights to Haneda in Japan.

AirAsia Zest chief executive officer Alfredo Yao told reporters yesterday the airline plans to start flights to Haneda.

“We’ve already applied. We applied this month for flights to Haneda,” he said.

According to Yao, the airline intends to have daily flights to Tokyo’s second major gateway.

Yao is hopeful the airline could start flights to Japan soon citing the Philippines’ good relations with that country.

The airline hopes to mount flights to Japan after the Philippine commercial aviation industry was restored to Category I status by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month.

The Philippines was downgraded to Category 2 status in 2008.

Japan had earlier imposed restrictions on local carriers from the Philippines from mounting additional flights, citing safety and security concerns.

Earlier, AirAsia Zest was looking at offering flights to Narita in Japan this year.

The Philippines and Japan had concluded successful air talks just last year.

The new services agreement covers an increase to 400 flights per week from 119 previously between the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Narita International Airport.

The new air services agreement likewise covers flights between NAIA and Haneda.

AirAsia Zest’s planned flights to Japan comes on the heels also of Japan’s recent decision to remove visa requirements for Filipinos.

Visa-free entry to Japan is expected to start by June this year.