Foreign airlines eye stake in Zest Air


Posted at Jul 26 2012 03:41 PM | Updated as of Jul 27 2012 06:40 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Foreign airlines are interested in acquiring a stake in Zest Airways Inc.

Zest Air president Alfredo Yao said three airlines, including China's Hainan, have expressed interest in making an investment in Zest Air.

"There are two, maybe three. We are still choosing. There was supposed to be an agreement already with one but then there came along two more. So, there's going to be a beauty contest," said Yao.

Yao did not name the two other interested airlines, saying only they are regional airlines.

The company is looking to sell up to 40% of the company before the end of the year. Under Philippine law, foreign ownership of a local airline is limited to 40%.

"Hopefully, it can be finished within the year," he said.

Formerly Asian Spirit, Zest Air is now on its fourth year of operation and currently has a 20% market share.

Yao expressed confidence its market share would grow to 25% by the end of 2012, as it looks to attract more passengers. Last year, Zest Air flew 2.3 million passengers and posted P6 billion in revenues.