Philippines Zest Airways to fly to Myanmar

SEOUL, South Korea—Budget carrier operator Zest Airways Inc. will soon expand its operations to include Myanmar, after it bagged a third of the recently acquired seat entitlements to the Southeast Asian nation.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) earmarked 1,260 seats to Yangon for low-cost carrier AirAsia Zest, its CEO Joy D. Caneba said in an interview.

She noted, however, that the regulator has yet to issue its decision on her firm’s application for entitlements to Bangkok in Thailand.

“I am very happy with the decision of CAB to grant us 1,260 seats to Yangon but sadly, there is yet no decision on our application for Bangkok. Myanmar will be an alternative destination to Filipino tourists and Myanmar’s government to extend visa free privilege to Filipinos last year is a welcome support,” she said.

Civil aviation regulators from both Myanmar and the Philippines signed a new air services pact in May, modernizing the decades-old agreement signed last 1979.

The two nations agreed to a total of 3,780 seats per week or about three flights per day for each country between Manila and points in Myanmar.

The parties also agreed on unlimited traffic rights between all points in the Philippines, except Manila, and all points in Myanmar.

Caneba urged President Aquino to sign the Asean open skies policy and open the country to other nations “as this will have a tremendous boost in our tourism.”

“Our infrastructure system will need to be improved as well to be able to support an increase in capacity. It is clear though that we do have to act fast. Our economy is improving and growth in aviation industry and tourism will boost it further,” she said.

The government aims to plug the holes in the country’s infrastructure, particularly the lack in transport facilities that are needed to facilitate the trade of goods and services, in the next decade. Part of this are the planned improvements in the aviation sector such as the construction of a $10-billion airport that would replace the aging and dilapidated Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila.

AirAsia Zest flies 20 local destinations from Manila, Clark (Pampanga) and Kalibo (Aklan). It also flies from Manila to Incheon and Pusan in South Korea, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Shanghai and Jinjian City in China, Macau and Taipei in Taiwan.

Bulk of its operations were recently moved to the newer Naia Terminal 3 from the old domestic airport known as the Naia Terminal 4.

Source: Business Mirror

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