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7JetSet7 Code: RIT
Status: Currently Not Operational
Region: ORIENT
Employees 513
Web: zestair.com.ph
Email: gomer@zestair.com.ph
Telephone: +63 2 851 1796
Fax: +63 2 854 0994

Click below for data links:
RIT-2009-01 - INCDT
RIT-2013-09 - OK TO FLY

Formed in 1995 and started operations in 1996. D B A Airlines Employees Cooperative (the company is an employee cooperative of 36 Filipino nationals, most of whom formerly worked for Philippine Airlines (PAL). Formerly named "Asian Spirit." Domestic, regional, & international, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.

Delta Hangar, General Aviation Area
1300 Pasay City, 1300, Philippines

The Philippines (the Republic of the Philippines) was established in 1898, covers an area of 300,000 sq km, its population is 72 million, its capital city is Manila, and its official languages are Philipino, Tagalog, and English.

April 2008: Asian Spirit (RIT) plans to introduce cargo services in 2008.

Employees = 528.

Parent organization/shareholders: Employees (100%).

August 2008: 737-301 (23234), ex-(HS-AAN), delivery.

September 2008: "Zest Air" (RIT) is the new name for "Asian Spirit," and was re-branded on September 30th, following its acquisition earlier this year by Filipino fruit magnate Alfredo M Yao, from where the Zest name originates. Zest Air (RIT) has selected fruity shades of green and orange in its livery, which also includes the tag line "Asia's most refreshing airline." (RIT) has embarked on a major fleet renewal program, starting next month with the delivery of the 1st of 5 AVIC 1 MA 60 turboprops to modernize and expand its domestic route network. (RIT) has announced several new routes from Cebu and Manila for the new MA 60 airplane entering the fleet. From Cebu, the airline will add flights to Davao, Iloilo, Surigao, and Zamboanga (all starting December 20th). From Manila, new routes will serve Gasan (starting November 15th); Puerto Princesa (starting November 22nd); Iloilo (starting December 6th); Kalibo, Legazpi and Ormoc (all starting December 18th), and finally Baclod, Cebu, and Tacloban (all starting December 19th). This month (November) also will see the arrival of 2 used A320 family airplanes to coincide with the opening of new international routes to Bangkok and Singapore.

(RIT)'s fleet will consist of A320S, 3 Dash 7s, and 5 MA 60s.

November 2008: A320-232 (2141, RP-C8897), ex-(N581JB).

December 2008: A320-232 (2147, RP-C8898), ex-(N582JB).

January 2009: INCDT: Zest Airways (RIT) AVIC I MA60 (704, RP-C8893) (sustained significant damage after undershooting the runway and hitting a concrete barrier when landing at Caticlan. The flight was en route from Manila with 22 passengers and 3 crew (FC)-(CA). Minor injuries were reported. The airplane 1st flew last year. (RIT) operates four additional MA60s, three Dash 7s and two A320-200s.

February 2009: INCDT: Zest Air (RIT) (RP-C8895) blew tires due to hard braking at Caticlan airport. According to local reports, the flight crew (FC) applied full braking action to prevent the airplane from overrunning the runway, leaving many with the opinion that the MA-60 is under-powered and not ideally suited to Caticlan's harsh operating environment. Another MA-60 (RP-C8894) damaged its wing at Clark Field and was also out of service for a while. Both are now operational again.

June 2009: Zest Air (RIT) placed an order for +6 MA 60s. (RIT) already operates 5 of the Chinese-built airplanes and expects to take delivery of the newly ordered planes starting in October. +2 more will arrive in December, with the remaining 3 coming next year, AVIC's Xi'an Aircraft Industry Company said. The MA 60 has received 92 firm orders, with letters of intent signed for another 70. The MA 600 has received 12 orders.

(RIT) placed a firm order for a new A320-200. The airplane will join an existing fleet of 2 A320s that the airline purchased on the open market in 2008.

A320-232 (3621, RP-C8989), delivery, ex-(F-WWIK).

October 2009: Zest Air (RIT) signed a distribution deal with Amadeus. It currently operates mostly domestic flights using Chinese built turboprops but is now receiving A320s acquired for short haul international routes.

January 2011: Zest Air (RIT) provides scheduled domestic and international tourist services, concentrating on feeder services linking Manila and Cebu with 25 domestic destinations in support of the trunk route operations of other carriers. An international service is also operated to Sandakan. (RIT) introduced cargo services in 2008.

Employees = 513.

(IATA) Code: Z2 - 457. (ICAO) Code: RIT - (Callsign - ASIAN SPIRIT).

Parent organization/shareholders: Amy Group (99.07%).

Main Base: Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL).

Hubs: Cebu airport (CEB); & Clark Diosdado Macapagal International airport (CRK).

February 2011: Zest Air (RIT) has announced plans to acquire 2 777s in the 3rd quarter this year to operate new long-haul routes to the Middle East. In 2009, (RIT) sought permission to fly to Kuwait and Dubai from Manila using 767-300ER airplanes. However, more recently (RIT) has expressed interest in serving Bahrain and Dammam (Saudi Arabia).

(RIT) ended 2010 with a fleet of 10 airplanes after taking delivery of 2 A320s, one owned and the other leased, in December. It plans to grow its fleet from 6 to 10 airplanes in 2011 and will add 2 new A320s and 2 leased examples. (RIT) also has 4 Modern Ark MA 60s for thinner domestic routes.

(RIT) plans to use the additional capacity to expand its international network and increase the frequency of domestic services. (RIT) launched service to Shanghai on January 24th and is looking to add Taipei, Palau, and Singapore to its range of international destinations as the fleet expands. It currently flies to Incheon and Pusan in South Korea from Kalibo and Cebu. (RIT) also serves 20 domestic destinations, namely Boracay via Kalibo, Bacolod, Busuanga, Calbayog, Catarmen, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Legazpi, Marinduque, Masbate, Puerto Princesa, San Fernando, San Jose, Tablas, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, and Virac.

March 2011: (TRAX) was selected by Zest Airways (RIT) to implement the latest version of its Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) software, (e4).

May 2012: Zest Air (RIT) connected Manila, the capital of the Philippines with Jinjiang in China.

June 2012: Zest Air (RIT) plans to lease 4 A330-300s by summer 2012 to launch long-haul services from Manila to Bahrain Muharraq International (BAH), Dammam King Fahd International (DMM), Melbourne Tullamarine International (MEL) and Riyadh King Khalid (RUH) airports. Earlier, its larger competitor had already announced similar plans.

July 2012: On July 25, Zest Air (RIT) became the 3rd airline after Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB) to offer non-stop flights between Manila (MNL) and Shanghai Pudong (PVG). (RIT) will operate a 180-seat A320 5x-weekly between the 2 cities, compared with daily flights for both of its local rivals. This becomes Zest Air (RIT)’s 3rd international route from Manila after Jinjiang (China) and Seoul Incheon (South Korea). Kuala Lumpur flights are scheduled to start on October 27.

October 2012: Zest Air (RIT) inaugurated services on the 2,500 km route across the South China Sea from Manila (MNL) in the Philippines to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur (KUL), on October 22.

4x-weekly flights are offered between the 2 capitals; all will be operated using A320s. Competition in the market is significant, as the route is already operated by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) 3x-daily, Cebu Pacific (CEB) 2x-daily, and Airphil Express (PHL) 3x-weekly. Zest Air (RIT), which was originally launched as the Philippines’ 1st airline run by a cooperative under the name of Asian Spirit in 1996, already operates 3 other international services from Manila; to Seoul Incheon in South Korea, as well as to Shanghai Pudong and Jinjang in China.

(RIT) launched its 1st international destination from Clark airport (CRK) on October 27, and it now offers daily services to Seoul Incheon (ICN). The 2,500 km route is now served with daily frequencies using (RIT)’s fleet of A320s. Zest Air (RIT) competes against two Korean airlines: Asiana Airlines (AAR) and Jin Air (JIN), which already serve the market from Clark to the Korean airport with daily and 4x-weekly frequencies, respectively. While it is the 1st international service (RIT) offers in Clark, (RIT) already serves Seoul Incheon from Cebu, Kalibo and Manila.

A320-232 (2576, RP-C8997), ex-(EI-EWE), ex-Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) - - SEE ATTACHED - - "RIT-A320-232 - 2012-10," delivery following maintenance in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

November 2012: AirPhil Express (PHP) is expected to receive some of the A330-300s recently ordered by parent, Philippine Airlines (PAL) allowing the carrier group to compete better with low-cost carrier (LCC)s Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) and Zest Air (RIT), which both also have long-haul ambitions. The A330-300s allocated to (PHP) will be operated in a single class configuration targeting the labor travel market between the Philippines and the Middle East from as early as next year.

January 2013: Zest Air (RIT) expanded its domestic operation in the Philippines from Cebu (CEB), the country’s second most significant population center, on December 20, and now offers daily flights to both Davao (DVO) and Puerto Princesa (PPS). Cebu Pacific (CEB) provides competition on both routes (respectively 26- and 7x-weekly frequencies); additionally, AirPhil Express (PHL) offers 2x-daily departures on the route to Davao. Zest Air (RIT) will operate both routes using its fleet of A320s.

The AirAsia (ASW) group appears set to make acquisitions this year so it can expand its footprint farther across Asia. Possible takeover targets include Zest Air (RIT) in the Philippines, plus T'way (TWY) and Eastar (EJS) in South Korea. The (ASW) group is also believed to be eyeing potential opportunities to launch a carrier in Cambodia. To help fund its expansion and boost its balance sheet, AirAsia (ASW) plans to float some of its businesses. Its Kuala Lumpur-based, medium-haul low-cost carrier (LCC) AirAsia X (ASX) aims to have an initial public offering (IPO) early in 2013 on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange. AirAsia (ASW) also wants to float its Indonesian affiliate, Indonesia AirAsia (AWR) on the Jakarta stock exchange.

May 2013: Zest Air (RIT), the sister airline of AirAsia Philippines (AWR), increased its offering from Manila (MNL) on May 10th, when it launched a total of 3 new routes, including 1 domestic and 2 international. All flights are operated using A320s.

These flights include 21x-weekly, (MNL) to Bacolod (BCD) with competition from Cebu Pacific (44x-), Philippine Airlines (PAL) (35x-), and SEAir (XXX) (7x-); 4x-weekly (MNL) to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) with competition from (CEB) (3x-X); 7x-weekly (MNL) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) with competition from (CEB) (14x-), Malaysia Airlines (MAS) (21x-), PAL Express (PHP) (3x-), and Philippine Airlines (PAL) (4x-).

August 2013: The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has grounded budget carrier AirAsia Zest (RIT) due to a series of safety breaches, including refueling with passengers on board. "In the course of monitoring, this agency is alarmed of (RIT)'s series of serious deviations and infractions of the rules and standards prescribed under the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations," the suspension order issued by Captain John Andrews, (CAAP) Deputy Director General, read.

In the order addressed to Alfredo Yao, Chairman of (RIT), Andrews said the decision to suspend (RIT)'s operations was based on the monitoring and surveillance conducted by a team of airworthiness inspectors formed by the (CAAP) on July 31.

He said the report submitted by the inspectors showed continuing violations of AirAsia Zest (RIT) on air safety standards. Among the violations found by the (CAAP) were:

* No qualified Accountable Manager since July 19, 2013;
* Failure to check airplane logs, flight manifest, weather, etc;
* Failure to present to the (CAAP) the airman license (Airplane Mechanic License) during ramp inspection;
* Series of occurrences that affected several flight operations;
* Refueling with passenger on board involving A320 airplane (RP-C8989) on August 14, 2013;
* Excessive flight duty time case under the enforcement and legal service.

Andrews underscored the need for an Accountable Manager, who he said has "corporate authority for ensuring that all flight operations and maintenance activities can be financed and carried out to the highest degree of safety standards required by the authority."

AirAsia Zest (RIT)'s certificate to operate will remain suspended until the necessary corrective actions and compliance with aviation safety standards have been undertaken, he said.

AirAsia Zest (RIT) has had its suspension by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) lifted with effect from Tuesday, August 20. (CAAP) Deputy Director General, Mr John Andrews, said 3 of the airline's 11 airplanes had been "released for flight". (RIT) Director, Joy Caneba welcomed the move, saying 1 airplane is now being used to service its China routes, where various passengers have been left stranded since the airline's grounding on Friday, August 16. Andrews said the rest of (RIT)'s fleet would be cleared for flight once (CAAP) inspectors resolve "some open items." Caneba said the inspectors were unable to complete the review because of bad weather. The (CAAP) grounded (RIT)'s operations citing "a series of serious deviations and infractions" of aviation rules and standards" which included, among others, an alleged violation of laws requiring airlines to have an "accountable manager" who should ensure operations are financed and carried out safely. (RIT) however, insisted its fleet is "safe and airworthy." It claimed it had addressed the safety concerns raised by the (CAAP). The grounding is estimated to have cost the airline PHP 70 million/USD 1.6 million with some 7,000 passengers affected.

November 2013: AirAsia Zest (RIT) started operating on 3 routes from Cebu (CEB) in the Philippines on November 15th. 2 of the 3 routes to Davao (DVO), which is served daily, and Puerto Princesa (PPS), which is served with 4 weekly flights, were previously served by Zest Air (RIT) until mid-June, while the daily 225 km service to Cagayan de Oro (CGY) was not previously served. All 3 routes are already served by Cebu Pacific Air (CEB), and Philippine Airlines (PAL)’s low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, PAL Express (PHP).

December 2013: AirAsia Zest (RIT) now serves Kuala Lumpur (KUL) from Cebu (CEB) in the Philippines. (RIT), which used to be known as Zest Air, also serves the Malaysian capital from its base in Manila. Daily service on the 2,590 km route began on December 1st with the (RIT)’s A320s. No other carrier serves the route, though Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) was operating 2x-weekly flights until the end of August.

AirAsia (RIT) Zest has added 2 further destinations from its Manila (MNL) hub. On December 6th, it began 3x-weekly flights on the 1,160 km route to Macau (MFM), followed on December 7th by 4x-weekly flights on the 1,352 km route to Miri (MYY) in Malaysia. Competition on the Macau route comes from Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) and Philippine Airlines (PAL), who both operate daily flights. This brings to 16 the number of destinations (RIT) (formerly known as Zest Air) now operates from the Philippine capital, Manila.

A320-216s (2956, RP-C8971; 3064, RP-C8970), ex-(9M-AFR & 9M-AFN) AirAsia leased.

January 2014: AirAsia Zest (RIT) has further expanded its operations at Cebu (CEB) with the addition of 3x-weekly A320 services to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) in Malaysia. (RIT) launched flights on the 990 km sector on December 19th, and will not face any direct competition. This brings to 7, the number of destinations served by (RIT) from Cebu, and is (RIT)’s 2nd route to Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur. Of (RIT)’s 10 daily flights from Cebu, 5 are on the 560 km domestic route to Manila.

April 2014: AirAsia Zest (RIT) began Taipei - Kalibo service.

June 2014: A320-216 (3568, RP-C8974), ex-(9M-AHO), (ASW) leased in special "Solaire Resort & Casino" colors.

December 2014: AirAsia Zest (RIT) has added 2 further destinations from Cebu (CEB) on December 12th, when it commenced 2x-daily flights to both Cagayan de Oro (CGY) and Davao (DVO). Both new domestic routes will be operated by (RIT)’s 180-seat A320s, while the 200 km sector to Cagayan de Oro is already served by Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) (24x-weekly) and Tigerair Philippines (2x-weekly), as well as the 402 km airport pair to Davao that is already flown by Cebu Pacific (CEB) (29x-weekly) and Tigerair Philippines (SRQ) (2x-weekly). AirAsia Zest (RIT) is also flying to Seoul Incheon (daily) and Manila (42x-weekly) from Cebu.

September 2015: INCDT: An AirAsia Zest (RIT) Airbus A320-200 overshot a runway while landing at Kalibo International Airport on September 18, coming to rest completely off the apron. No passengers or crew were injured in the incident, but emergency slides were deployed for the evacuation.

The A320 (RP-C8972), was carrying 159 passengers and crew on flight Z2-272 from Manila to Kalibo.

The preliminary report from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Aircraft Accident Investigation & Inquiry Board (AAIIB) stated the likely cause was the pilot (FC) “disregarding normal and standard basic operating procedures” and opting to land rather than initiate a “go-round” or missed approach procedure.

The (AAIIB) said the decision not to abort the initial landing was a “clear manifestation of poor judgment on the part of the pilot (FC) in command, which violates the basic rules of the air and apparently endangers flight safety.”

Weather reports indicate strong winds and heavy rain as a result of nearby Tropical Storm Jangmi. Locally, a 10 knot tailwind and a wet runway are likely to have contributed to the eventual halt of the aircraft some 200 ft beyond the end of the runway.

This is the 3rd major incident from AirAsia (ASW)’s regional subsidiaries within the last year.

In December 2014, Indonesia AirAsia (AWR) A320 flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea, killing 162 passengers and crew. Days later, another A320 suffered a similar off-runway landing overshoot at Kalibo, but with no injuries.

January 2016: AirAsia Zest merged with AirAsia Philippines to become Philippines AirAsia (APG).

Note: AIRASIA ZEST (RIT) is listed on the latest (EU) blacklist released 03.04.2012 of airlines whose operations are subject to a ban within the (EU)*. *Airlines listed in Annex A could be permitted to exercise traffic rights by using wet-leased airplanes of an air carrier which is not subject to an operating ban, provided that the relevant safety standards are complied with.


Click below for photos:
RIT-A320-232 - 2012-10
RIT-MA60 - 2012-05

October 2016:

0 737-301 (CFM56-3C) (1208-23234, HS-AAN), 2008-08. RETURNED.

2 ORDERS 777:

0 MD-82, RTND.

0 MD-83 (JT8D-219) (1838-49985, /91 RP-C8018), RETURNED. 157Y.

1 A319-132 (1074, RP-C8990), EX-(SE-RIB).

2 A320-216 (2956, RP-C8971; 3064, RP-C8970), (ASW) LEASED 2013-12.

2 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (2141, /03 RP-C8897, 2008-11; 2147, /03 RP-C8898, 2008-12), EX-(JBL), EX-(N581JB & N582JB). 168Y.

1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (2576, RP-C8997 - - SEE ATTACHED - - "RIT-A320-232 - 2012-10"), EX-(KFH) 2012-10. 168Y.

1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (3568, RP-C8974), EX-(9M-AHO), (ASW) LEASED IN SPECIAL "SOLAIRE RESORT & CASINO" COLORS.

1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (3621, /08 RP-C8989, 2009-06; 4533, RP-C8991), EX-(F-WWIK). 168Y.

1 ORDER A320-232 (V2527-A5) (4533, RP-C8991), 180 PAX.

4 ORDERS A330-300, LEASED 2012-07:

2 B AE 146-100 (ALF502R-5) (E1005, /84 RP-C2994; E1009, /83 RP-C2999), 2005-11. 83Y.

1 B AE 146-200 (ALF502R-5) (E2178, /91 RP-C2997), 100Y.

1 B AE ATP (PW126) (2055, /93 RP-C2786), B AE LEASED 2003-12. 68Y.

6 DHC-7-102 (PT6A-50) (18, /79 RP-C2996; 35, /80 RP-C2895; 78, /82 RP-C2988; 79, /82 RP-C2978; 90, /82 RP-C2955; 92, /82 RP-C2915), 48Y.

2 CASA CN-235-220 (CT7-9C) (N001, /87 RP-C5000; N020, /92 RP-C4000), 40Y.

1 LET L410UVP (M-601F) (851511, /85 RP-C3889), 17Y.

2 LET L410UVP-E (M-601E) (892228, /89 RP-C3880; 902510, /90 RP-C2918), 19Y.

5 +5 ORDERS AVIC 1 MA 60 (PW127J) (703, /08 RP-C8892; 704, RP-C8893 - - W/O IN INCDT JANUARY 2009 SEE ATTACHED - - "RIT-INCDT-JAN09"; 710 /08 RP-C8894; 711 /08 RP-C8895; 712, /08 RP-C8896). 56Y.

3 YS-11A-500 (DART 543-10JIK) (2067, /68 RP-C2015; 2108, /69 RP-C3592; 2168, /72 RP-C3588), 64Y.




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