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EXCLUSIVE | Zest Air suspends flights to Taiwan

InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS

MANILA - A local budget carrier has suspended its chartered flights between Boracay and Taipei because of the political tensions between the Philippines and Taiwan.

InterAksyon.com obtained a copy of the letter by Butch Rodriguez, Zest Airways Inc senior vice president for commercial and external affairs, to Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), which stated they will temporarily halt its Kalibo-Taipei flights effective May 20 until further notice.

"This sudden suspension is mainly due to the political crisis between the Philippines and Taiwan," Rodriguez said.

"As such the scheduled charters on May 16 and 19 would still push through to ferry Taiwanese passenger back to Taipei but no passenger on the return flight," he added.

Rodriguez said its charter agent has informed the company that the Taiwanese government has issued a "red travel advisory" to them, saying Taiwanese tourists are banned from traveling to the Philippines.

The Taipei government's move came after it dismissed Manila's apology for the Philippine Coast Guard's shooting of a 65-year-old fisherman, declaring that it was  "not enough [as it was] lacking in sincerity."

China Airlines also has pending applications before the CAB to temporarily cease its Kalibo to Taipei flight.

Cebu Pacific, Air Asia Philippines and Philippines Airlines have yet to announce if they will suspend their flights to Taiwan.

Data from the Department of Tourism showed that 210,000 Taiwanese tourists—the fifth-biggest group visiting foreign group in 2012.

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