Zest Air suspended due to safety concerns
Published: 19/08/2013 - Filed under: News »
Philippine aviation officials have suspended local budget carrier Zest Air due to safety concerns.
The airline violated several safety regulations, including refuelling with passengers on board, failing to check aircraft log books and exceeding permitted flying time, according to the Civil Aviation Authority Of The Philippines (CAAP).
It also accused Zest Air of a "series of occurrences that affected several flight operations".
CAAP deputy director general John Andrews said the airline does not have a qualified manager to ensure maintenance and flight operations meet safety standards, and that a previous manager resigned last month.
He added: "There is something definitely wrong with their operations."
Hundreds of passengers were reportedly left stranded on Saturday, following CAAP's decision late on Friday.
Zest Air, which has a fleet of 16 aircraft - 11 A320s, one A319 and four Xian MA-60s, said it was surprised by the decision.
In a statement, the carrier said: "In response to the order of suspension from CAAP, we are surprised that this was issued without giving us an opportunity to properly respond to their issues raised.
"The management of ZestAir have been in full cooperation with CAAP in ensuring that the maintenance programs and policies of ZestAir are in place. All findings in CAAP's letter have already been appropriately addressed and we believe that they do not merit suspension and grounding of our operations.
"We wish to highlight and reiterate that all 11 aircrafts are safe and airworthy. We will never risk the safety of our passengers."
In May, Malaysia-based Air Asia bought an 85 per cent financial stake in Zest Air, in addition to 49 per cent of the airline's voting rights.
Airmarc - 19/08/2013 10:31
I never knew its an offense to refuel an aircraft with passengers on board. This happens all the time with RJ on the flight from KUL - AMM via BKK. The flight is refueled at BKK and transiting passengers are not allowed to leave the aircraft.
alexpo1 - 19/08/2013 11:03
I was thinking just the same thing. It has happened to me many times, and all you are required to do is unfasten your seatbelt and stay in your seat.
GrahamSmith - 19/08/2013 11:51
An incident of refuelling an aircraft with passengers on board took place on August 14, according to the CAAP. This must go against Philippine regulations otherwise they wouldn't have mentioned it.
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