Zest Air launches international flights to Malaysia, returns to Bacolod

While last week may have symbolized the end of the turbo-prop era for Zest Air, it also represented the start of a new era as an all-Airbus operator integrated with Air Asia Philippines. With the departure of the MA-60 aircraft and its corresponding routes from the Zest Air network, slots were freed at Manila airport to begin an expansion utilizing Airbus aircraft.

zest air bacolod a320
Photo Copyright: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG

That expansion kicked off on May 10, 2013 as Zest Air launched one domestic and two new international routes. Malaysia was the clear winner as Zest launched two routes to Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu to the praise of Malaysian tourism officials. In 2012, more than 500,000 Filipinos visited Malaysia and local authorities are expecting that number to grow in 2013. The 2012 figures are already an increase of 40% over 2011 tourist arrivals. The launch of the Zest Air service to Malaysia comes just a couple of weeks after Philippine Airlines restored flights to Kuala Lumpur after a seven year absence. 

Like its partner Air Asia, Zest Air will be utilizing the Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Carrier terminal which serves as the main hub for Air Asia and long-haul affiliate Air Asia X. The new Manila-Kuala Lumpur service is expected to offer Filipinos even more choice in budget travel as they now enjoy connections to all of the regional Asian destinations in the Air Asia route network and also the long-haul destinations served by Air Asia X in Japan, Korea, China, and Australia. While a connection may not appeal to all, it will provide travellers with the opportunity of a stopover to experience the city of Kuala Lumpur. The city is well-known for its famous Petronas Towers, and numerous shopping and dining outlets. Travellers to Kota Kinabalu will get to enjoy the numerous eco-tourism opportunities. 

In addition to its Malaysian launch, Zest Air also launched new service to Bacolod City in Negros Occidental with three flights per day. The Manila-Bacolod service is not new for Zest Air who operated the route for a few years before reallocating their aircraft to pursue other routes. Bacolod is one of the ten most competitive routes in the Philippines with all Philippine carriers competing together. Zest Air and Bacolod enjoy a special relationship as Zest Air was the first airline to operate an international flight from Bacolod-Silay airport. The service was offered in January 2012 between Bacolod and Seoul with the aim of bringing Korean tourists to many of Bacolod's popular golf courses. But the service was abruptly haulted due to weak demand. Bacolod is known as the sugar cane capital of the Philippines but is also famous for its barbecued chicken, baked piaya delicacy and the numerous shopping and dining opportunities. Each October, Filipinos travel to Bacolod to celebrate the highly popular Masskara festival. It is rumoured that Bacolod may once again be connected with a direct flight to Korea this summer but no official announcements have been made by any carrier. 

Zest Air operates daily to Kuala Lumpur and Bacolod while Kota Kinabalu flights are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

More Information on Bacolod can be found at Tourism Bacolod

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