Solon tells CAAP, Zest Air to honor scheduled flights of passengers despite suspension order

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MANILA, 17Aug2013 – Despite the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ (CAAP) issuance of a suspension order for Zest Air’s operations, scheduled flights of passengers should still be honored, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said Saturday.

“We have information that Zest Air has existing agreements with other airline companies wherein the said indorsee airlines can step in and undertake terminated flights at no additional costs for the passengers,” Ridon, who is a member of the House Committee on Transportation, explained.

Ridon revealed that Zest Air has existing agreements with several airlines including the Philippine Airlines, PALExpress, Cebu Pacific, and Tiger Airways. “There are existing internal agreements between these airlines for situations like these to safeguard passengers from inconveniences. One can check from the Civil Aeronautics Board or CAAP for documents about these agreements,” the legislator said.

Yesterday, CAAP suspended Zest Air’s Air Operation Certificate for violating several safety regulations.

The suspension followed a series of flight cancellations due to mechanical problems. This August, Zest Air cancelled a total of eight flights, while a total of 33 flights were cancelled in July due to “aircraft situation.”

In a letter signed by CAAP Deputy General John Andrews and addressed to Zest Air Chairman Alfredo Yao, CAAP said that it is “is alarmed of Zest Air’s series of serious deviations and infractions of the rules and standards prescribed under the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR).”

CAAP prohibited Zest Air from engaging in air carrier operations, effectively terminating all Zest Air flights except for those bound for Manila.

Zest Air has a fleet of 10 Airbus A320s and one A319 with flights to nine domestic and five international destinations.

“We have nothing against the suspension order. What we are emphasizing here is that Zest Air and CAAP should ensure that passengers would not be left hanging in mid-air. Other airlines should absorb the scheduled flights of affected passengers without added costs,” Ridon added. “This is, of course, subject to space availability and flight schedules of the said indorsee airlines.”

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