AirAsia Zest Adds Tacloban, Possibly Japan in Third Quarter

AirAsia Zest has announced that it will begin offering two daily flights between Manila and Tacloban beginning on March 11, 2014. According to Maan Hontiveros, CEO of AirAsia Philippines, the opening of the route is designed to help rehabilitate the region that was devastated last year by Typhoon Yolanda. 

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Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
AirAsia Zest took a leading role in supporting relief efforts in Tacloban. The airline recently concluded its campaign that provided on-going support to typhoon victims in Tacloban and Aklan with nearly US $2.5 million in donations collected from employees, passengers, and the AirAsia group.

In addition to adding new services to Tacloban, the airline is also evaluating the possibility of adding new international routes to Japan by the third quarter of this year as the airline takes delivery of two new aircraft. The airline revealed that it is looking at flights to both Tokyo Narita and Osaka. "We've applied for Japan with the Civil Aeronautics Board," said Hontiveros. "Once approved, AirAsia Zest might take a few more months to finalize the airline's inaugural flight to Japan. We're looking at June or July."

AirAsia Zest plans to take advantage of the new air agreement between the Philippines and Japan that has increased the number of allowable flight frequencies from 119 flights weekly to 400 flights. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines are both planning to launch new services to Japan on March 30 along with Japanese carrier ANA which will be introducing direct non-stop Boeing 787 service between Manila and Tokyo Haneda airport.

Reports released last year suggested that the Philippines-Japan market has been under served over the last five years and that much potential exists to boost business and tourism traffic between the two countries. As the market grows, Japan could easily surpass South Korea as the top source market for international tourists to the Philippines.

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