Suspension order for Zest Air lifted

BUDGET carrier Zest Air has resumed almost all its previous flights, with 10 of its 11 aircraft having been cleared for operations by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) as of yesterday evening.

Zest Air’s air operator certificate had been suspended last Friday (TTG Asia e-Daily, August 19, 2013), after which the CAAP aircraft inspection process was hampered by the arrival of Typhoon Trami, according to Joy Caneba, director and spokesperson for Zest Air.

“We are trying our best to get operations back to normal in the coming days,” she added.

Between 35,000 and 40,000 passengers in Manila and Kalibo were left stranded since Friday as a result, including about 500 home-bound Chinese and South Korean travellers.

To address this, Zest Air offered complimentary flight transfers to other airlines, rebooking for any date with extra fees, charges and penalties waived or a full refund, shared Caneba.

The LCC had spent some 70 million pesos (US$1.6 million) per day on accommodation, food and flight transfers for its passengers as of yesterday.

AirAsia, which has a 49 per cent stake in Zest Air, mounted two “rescue flights” from Manila to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa. Arrangements for further “rescue flights” to China and South Korea were disrupted by Typhoon Trami, which flooded the runway at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, preventing regular operation (TTG Asia e-Daily, August 21, 2013).

CAAP had cited a number of maintenance and safety violations as well as a total of 37 flight cancellations in July as cause for the suspension, and the aviation authority had earlier this month placed the carrier on “heightened alert status”.

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