Philippines’ AirAsia takes 49% stake in Zest Airways

Philippines’ AirAsia (PAA) has entered a strategic alliance with Ambassador Alfredo Yao, the majority shareholder of Zest Airways and Asiawide Airways – collectively known as the Zest Air Group.

Under the agreement, PAA will invest in the Zest Air Group by acquiring 49% of common stock of Zest Airways and 100% of Asiawide Airways, and, in turn, Yao will take shares in PAA. Various regulatory approvals will be required prior to completion of the transaction. To further strengthen the partnership, the shareholders of PAA will infuse funds to augment working capital.

“Today’s strategic alliance between our two local carriers brings pride and joy to Philippines’ AirAsia,” declared Marianne Hontiveros, CEO of PAA. “I am especially delighted to have Ambassador Yao of ZestAir as a partner as he shares a common vision to provide passengers with the best value fare possible which enables them to fly to various destinations.

“This proposed investment in the Zest Group will complement the strategies for future growth of PAA, which currently operates out of Clark,” Hontiveros added, explaining that the pair will build on their respective strengths. “In the case of Zest Air, this include its operations out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which constitutes a majority of the air traffic in the Philippines, and a strong domestic network which feeds into its current international routes. The stockholders of PAA welcome this partnership with Ambassador Yao, a seasoned entrepreneur who is well regarded in Philippines.”

The investment by PAA in Zest Air forms part of AirAsia Group’s business strategy across the Asean region.

Ambassador Yao remarked, “We are truly delighted with this strategic alliance with AirAsia. It provides a great opportunity to realise both carriers’ common vision to widen the choice of low-cost travel within the Philippines and the region. The goal in ZestAir is driven by my passion to capitalise on the tourism potential and, hence, our investment to quickly increase our fleet and expand Zest’s market share."

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