zest air - airplane / air asia hobby


Zest Airways

Zest Airways International
Fleet size15(+31 orders)
Company sloganAsia's most refreshing airline
Parent companyAMY Holdings, Inc.
HeadquartersDomestic Road Cor. Andrews Ave., Pasay City, Philippines
Key people

Zest Airways, Inc. operating as Zest Airways (formerly Asian Spirit), is an airline based at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Metro Manila in the Philippines. It operates scheduled domestic and international tourist services, mainly feeder services linking Manila and Cebu with 24 domestic destinations in support of the trunk route operations of other airlines. In 2013, the airline became a sister airline of AirAsia Philippines operating their brand separately. Its main base is Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila, and with a hub at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Cebu.

The airline was originally founded as Asian Spirit, the first airline in the Philippines to be run as a cooperative.



Beginnings as Asian Spirit

Logo of Asian Spirit

Zest Airways was established as Asian Spirit in September 1995 by three friends: Antonio "Toti" Turalba, Emmanuel "Noel" Oñate and Archibald Po, who contributed $1 million each to start up the Airline Employees Cooperative (AEC). They invited 36 of their friends, mostly former Philippine Airlines employees, to run Asian Spirit through a salary-to-equity swap deal. The Po family held the majority of ownership.[1][2][3]

It started operations in April 1996 with two second hand Dash 7 aircraft servicing only one scheduled commercial route with two flights per day from Manila to Malay, serving the fledging resort island of Boracay. To maximize its aircraft utilization, it introduced new routes to the present-day towns of San Jose, Virac, Daet and Alcantara, and the cities of Cauayan and Masbate, regarded as secondary and tertiary routes by Air Transportation Office, and are not serviced by major airlines. In 1997, the cooperative changed to a corporate set-up with the establishment of Asian Spirit, Inc., whose registration was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2005.

Asian Spirit NAMC YS-11 airliner, at Loakan Airport, Baguio City July, 2006.

At the time, Asian Spirit has the distinction of being the first scheduled airline to serve Boracay. Other operators served the airport on a charter basis then. It became the Philippines' fourth flag carrier (after Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines) in 2003.

Zest Air's Airbus A319 at the New Bacolod-Silay Airport, Negros Occidental

Transition to Zest Airways

Asian Spirit was sold to AMY Holdings, a holding company controlled by businessman Alfredo M. Yao, in March 2008.[4] After the success of the takeover, Yao expressed interest in merging Asian Spirit with South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR). The two airlines have been in merger talks and were expected to make a decision soon.[5] Yao was supposed to purchase a sixty percent stake in SEAIR,[6] although the deal fell through because of a stolid response from SEAIR management.[7] The merger talks failed and both airlines continued to operate independently.

On September 30, 2008, Asian Spirit officially announced that it will be re-branding itself as Zest Airways. Reports say the name switch reflects the Yao's stake in the company, as well as an allusion to the flagship business of AMY Holdings: juicemaker Zest-O. The firm's board approved the name change in August, while the Civil Aeronautics Board approved the switch earlier this month.[8]

The airline wants to fly to three international points to Sandakan( - already stopped), Malaysia from Zamboanga, to Seoul from Kalibo, Laoag, and Davao, and Macau from Angeles City. However these international routings never took off.[9] It has also intended to commence international expansion to Bangkok and Singapore from Manila in 2009.[10]

On March 12, 2013, Zest Airways signed a share swap agreement with AirAsia Philippines, a domestic airline with foreign interest. The share swap deal involves exchange of shares between the owner of Zest Airways, Filipino shareholders of AirAsia Philippines, Inc. and AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia. [11][12]

as of May 2013, Zest Air suspended its chartered flights between Boracay and Taipei because of the political tensions between the Philippines and Taiwan.[13]

as of mid-June 2013, Zest Air was operation starting with Sukhoi Superjet 100.



The Zest Airways fleet includes the following aircraft (as of January 2013)[14][15]

Zest Airways Fleet[16]
AircraftIn serviceOrdersOptionsPassengers
Airbus A319-100100144Domestic
Airbus A320-2001000180Domestic, International
Xian MA6040056DomesticTo be retired[17]
Sukhoi Superjet 10010075DomesticEntry to service on 1 June 2013


Zest Airways Retired Fleet
AircraftYear RetiredReplaced by
McDonnell Douglas DC-92008Airbus A320-200
BAe 146-2002008Xian MA60
BAe 146-1002008Xian MA60
BAe ATP2008Airbus A319-100
CN-2352008Xian MA60
de Havilland Dash 72009Xian MA60
Let-4102008Xian MA60
McDonnell Douglas MD-822008Airbus A320-200
McDonnell Douglas MD-832008Airbus A320-200
NAMC YS-112008Xian MA60

Zest Airways has acquired both the Airbus A320 and the Xian MA60, the only Philippine airline to do so, as part of its refleeting strategy.[7]

The Airbus A320 aircraft were originally delivered to JetBlue Airways in 2003. They were purchased in September 2008 and delivered in December 2008 and January 2009. The aircraft were than repainted in Pinal Airpark in Arizona into Zest Airways livery and the seat configuration has been changed from Y 150 to Y 162.[citation needed]

On June 3, 2009, the airliner ordered 6 more Xian MA60's to be delivered starting October.[18] but the delivery has been delayed for unknown reasons.

On July 11, 2009 RP-C 8989 arrived at Diosdao Macapagal International Airport. The A320 MSN 3621 made its first flight on September 12, 2008 under a French registration F-WWIK as was originally ordered by Kingfisher Airlines but was not accepted. The aircraft was subsequently sold to Asiawide Airways Inc. the holding company for all aircraft of Zest Airways owned by AMY Holding.[19]

On August 2, 2009, the airline revealed that it would be able to mount international flights with the starting delivery of two brand new Airbus 320 in October this year. This is in addition to the first A320 it purchased earlier. The company was eyeing to buy 2 Boeing 767-300 aircraft to bring its total fleet to 11 aircraft by year end, flying to major tourist destinations in the country. This is part of the $150 million second wave of capital expansion. In 2008, the company invested $170 million.[15] This additional fleet expansion never happened.

Following the March 12,2013 share swap agreement with AirAsia Philippines group, a subsidiary of AirAsia Berhad, The airline will retire its fleet of Xian MA60, returning the aircraft to its lessor in China, effectively stopping its Busuanga, Masbate, Marinduque and Tablas routes effective on May 11,2013. Landing slots for these aircraft will be replaced by Airbus A320's for services to Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod and Zamboanga. The airline will introduce more Airbus A320's to the fleet ordered by AirAsia Philippines to be painted in AirAsia livery.[20]

Incidents and Accidents

As Asian Spirit

  • On September 4, 2002, Asian Spirit Flight 897 was the last flight of the day to Malay, departing Manila at 3:36 pm for a one-hour flight. During the approach to Malay, the right main gear failed to deploy. The approach was abandoned and the crew decided to return to Manila for an emergency landing. The plane circled for about 35 minutes over Las Piñas City to burn off fuel. The crew then carried out an emergency landing with the right gear retracted on Manila's international airport runway 24. After touchdown the aircraft swerved off the runway onto a grassy area.[23]
  • On November 14, 2005, Asian Spirit Flight 587, a BAe-146-200, reportedly hydroplaned and overran runway 04/22, a 4,429-foot (1350 m) long concrete runway at Catarman National Airport. The aircraft came to rest in a muddy rice field.[24]
  • On January 2, 2008, Asian Spirit Flight 321, an NAMC YS-11 departing from Manila, piloted by Captain Alexandro Tiglao with First Officer Dominick Mendoza as co-pilot, overshot the runway at Masbate Airport at 7:30 a.m., due to heavy tailwinds with gusts reaching 14 knots while landing on runway 21. Although none of the 47 passengers were seriously injured, the accident destroyed the aircraft's nozzle, the plane's right propeller and its right and nose wheel, and caused the plane's fuel tank to leak.[25]





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