Zest Air will launch its maiden flight between Davao and Manila on March 1. Mark E. Hilario, Zest Air assistant vice-president for sales and marketing, told reporters the carrier was undeterred by the slowing economy and the price wars between bigger rivals Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
"The challenge really is how we can create a travel need through good package and competitive rates. Our focus is to give them good service and [that includes] all-you-can-drink Zest-O products," he said. Zest Air is owned by juice magnate Alfredo M. Yao, who acquired Asian Spirit, Inc. in March last year.
Neil Jason P. Ampo, passenger sales executive, said all the fleets of Asian Spirit had been mothballed since Zest Air decided it was best to start fresh. According to its Web site, the company has a fleet of two Airbus 320s and five MA60 aircraft. "It’s very hard to create awareness in the market so we want to tie up with travel agencies and hotels for a good package for local and foreign passengers," he said.
Last week, Zest Air executives met with local travel agents and operators in this city to discuss package rates for the Manila-Davao routes, to be served by a 162-seater Airbus 320 and the smaller 56-seater Xian MA60 turbo prop airplane.
A promotional all-in rate of P1,698 will offered initially for the Manila-Davao route. But Mr. Ampo said the price would go up to P1,788 after the promotional period.
The airline will also offer flights to Caticlan, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarman, Legaspi, Marinduque, Naga, Puerto Princesa, San Jose and Virac from Manila aside from its regular routes to Tagbilaran, Tacloban, Iloilo, Cebu, Kalibo and Davao.
Mr. Hilario said Zest Air would launch in May its Incheon, South Korea service — its first international flight, although it will be a chartered flight to accommodate Korean tourists and students coming here.
Zest Air is also looking at Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. "For now, we’re still testing the waters and we are not closing our doors to the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area)," he added