AirAsia Zest (formerly (formerly Asian Spirit and Zest Air), is an airline based at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. It is the first airline in the Philippines to be run as a cooperative. It operates scheduled domestic and international tourist services connecting Manila and Cebu with 24 domestic destinations in support of the trunk route operations of other airlines.
In September 1995, three friends: Antonio Turalba, Emmanuel Onate and Archibald Po contributed $1 Million each as a startup capital to run the airline Employee Cooperative (AEC). They invited their friends as members to join the cooperative, mostly from PAL. The cooperative started to run Asian Spirit through salary-to-equity swap deal. Later, the venture was joined by AMY Holdings Inc., the owner of Zest-O Corporation making the name Zest Airways, Inc., operating its brand name Zest Air.
In April 1996, Air Asia Zest with two second hand Dash 7 aircraft they started to fly with only one commercial route from Manila to Malay, Aklan twice a day particularly bringing tourist to Boracay. After a year of operation, the cooperative changed to a corporate set-up with the establishment of Asian Spirit, Inc. It then officially became the Philippines’ fourth flag carrier in 2003.Unfortunately due to safety issue.
In 2013, the airline became a sister of AirAsia Philippines operating its brand separately. The alliance had made AirAsia Zest stronger with its low cost rates with its theme “the right way to fly”. And at the same time the partnership allows AirAsia, which operates in Clark, to gain access to Zest Air's slots at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. With the alliance both company will be stronger and are positioned to offer a world class travel experience to all traveler. It is reported that though the two airlines are separate entity, Air Asia now controls the later. Rules and regulations as well as rates are the same with the sister company.
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