Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ZEST Air to cease Hong Kong flights starting Jan. 3

MANILA, Philippines - ZEST Air (Z2), one of the low cost carriers that operate out of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport at Clark will cease to fly to Hong Kong starting Jan. 3, 2010, barely two months after it started flying out of the Chep Lap Kok airport in November 2009.

The airline goes to Hong Kong three times weekly, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, leaving the Dmia at 3:50 p.m.

Z2, is owned by Alredo Yao, whose family founded the popular juice drink Zest-O, which has grown into a multi-million peso food and beverage company.

The carrier has a fleet of three Airbus A320 for its foreign routes and three MA60, a 56-seater turbo-prop plane for local destinations.

The website says that Z2 flies to 21 domestic and three international routes-Hong Kong, Malaysia and Korea- and plans to fly to China, Japan and Singapore.

However, Z2’s website schedules say that its current foreign destination is only Hong Kong but its Singapore schedule will start on Jan. 30, 2010.

No further reasons were given to the sudden termination of flights to the former Crown Colony.

Airport sources said that the carrier appears to have too many destinations but too few planes to sustain its undertakings.

The Star tried to get in touch with Z2 but yesterday, being a Sunday, there were no officials available for more information.

The carrier’s reservation department confirmed that they received information of the cessation of Hong Kong flights in January, but were told that this may not be permanent.

“We were told that flights to Hong Kong will remain on-hold,” the reservations agent said, requesting anonymity since she is not in a position to divulge confidential information.

Most, if not all airline companies are in a slump worldwide in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008.

The economic meltdown has prevented many would-be tourists and business travelers from withholding their trips, thus affecting the balance sheets of air carriers who are mostly dependent on them for their profits.

This is confirmed by a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which says that “airlines around the globe are in their most widespread financial crisis since World War II.”

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