Zest Air: Passengers, tourism lose with suspension
MANILA -- Zest Airways said it has been losing P70 million a day because of the suspension imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) beginning last Friday.
However, the airline said the passengers are the ones suffering because of what it called an arbitrary suspension.
In an interview with radio dzMM, Zest Air director Joy Caneba said more than 2,000 passengers were affected on Friday, and then 7,600 on Saturday and 7,900 on Sunday.
This subsequently redounds to an effect in tourism, since most passengers are foreigners, she added.
In a letter to Zest Air owner Yao dated August 16, CAAP officer-in-charge Capt. John Andrews said it is "alarmed" by Zest Air's series of "serious deviations and infractions" of the rules and standards under the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations.
Thousands of passengers failed to arrive at their destinations last Friday and many were seen in long queues, complaining of the incident.
The airline has already offered refund tickets. Caneba said they also tried to coordinate with other airlines to accommodate some passengers.
Zest Air also opened a 24-hour hotline to receive calls from customers, she said.
She said they were as shocked as their passengers about the suspension, noting that the company was not given the opportunity to be heard.
“Zest Air has never been involved in any accidents [in the past few months],” she said.
She said company officials, including president and chief executive Alfredo Yao, will personally appeal before the CAAP on Monday for the lifting of the suspension.
She insisted the airline’s mechanics have the proper licenses and its pilots have followed safety procedures, contrary to CAAP’s report.
“We don’t understand why we have been suspended. We are cooperating with CAAP in order to solve this problem,” she said.