After Zest Air investment, Air Asia's Philippine unit cuts number of flights means BUSINESS

The Philippine unit of Southeast Asia's largest budget airline today announced that it would reduce the number of flights to Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore starting June 15.

In a statement, Air Asia Inc, which operates out of Clark International Airport, said the reduction is part of its "operational realignment."

Flights to and from Kuala Lumpur would be cut from 10 times a week to three, and would be mounted by Air Asia Malaysia.

Flights to and from Hong Kong would go down from 10 times a week to seven, while those to and from Singapore would be reduced from seven times a week to three, specifically every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Lastly, flights to and from Taipei would be cut from seven times a week to four.

The airline said it would offer options to customers who already have bookings after June 15 "to alleviate the inconvenience caused."

Affected customers will be informed through email or text message about the flight changes. To ensure they are informed, customers should ensure their email addresses and mobile numbers are updated in their Air Asia member profiles, the carrier said.

For those with flights within 30 days should call +632-7422742, while those departing within 30 days after June 15 should use Air Asia's eForm to pick any of the above mentioned options. The eForm is available here.

The reduction in the number of flights comes on the heels of Air Asia Philippines' acquisition of 49 percent of the voting rights and an 85 percent economic interest in Zest Airways. Completed in May 10, the transaction also includes the acquisition of 100 percent of Asiawide Airways Inc.

In exchange, Zest Air owner Alfredo Yao will get a 13 percent stake in Air Asia Philippines for $16 million. Regulators have yet to approve the deal.

Air Asia Philippines operates out of Clark and flies to Singapore, Taipei, Thailand, China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The airline also flies to Davao and Kalibo.

Air Asia Philippines is 40 percent owned by Malaysia's Air Asia through AA International. The remaining 60-percent is held by Filipino businessmen Maan Hontiveros, Michael Romero and Antonio Cojuangco. Cojuangco is a cousin of President Benigno C. Aquino III.