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Two budget carriers strengthen work force

TWO BUDGET carriers have moved to strengthen their labor forces, with Cebu Pacific looking to hire 200 more staff while Zest Airways ropes in a firm to train pilots for new aircraft.

“Cebu Pacific [is expanding] its work force with 200 more positions available for pilots, cabin crew, and technical and non-technical support crew,” the Gokongwei-led airline said in a statement.

This, as the company expects to receive deliveries of two brand-new Airbus A320 later this year, and seven more aircraft in 2013.

So far, the company has announced the arrival of its 39th aircraft earlier this month.

Zest Airways, for its part, has tapped Alpha Aviation Group (AAG) Philippines for the training of its pilots, the company said in a separate statement yesterday.

“Under the agreement, Zest Airways pilots will undergo all their Airbus A320 training requirements with AAG Philippines beginning September. AAG Philippines operates and maintains an A320 Level D full flight simulator at its simulator-training center in Clark, Pampanga,” the statement read.

Sought for comment, Alfredo A. Herrera, Zest Airways chief marketing and sales officer, said the move was meant to slash cost for training as the company expects the arrival of two new aircraft before the end of the year.

“It is simply for practical reasons. Why spend for hotel accommodations abroad when you can do the training here?” Mr. Herrera said in a telephone interview yesterday.

He added that the company needs training for the pilots of the two new aircraft that will be coming in by October and December, respectively.

Zest Airways is seen to end the year with 12 aircraft and plans to add another two by next year.

The labor preparations come as both airlines have enjoyed growing passenger volumes as of the first semester.

Zest Airways carried 1.26 million domestic passengers in the first semester, a 10.53% increase from 1.14 million last year, data from the Civil Aeronautics Board showed. It aims to fly 3.5 million by year-end on both domestic and international flights, 53.17% higher than last year.

Cebu Pacific, for its part, flew 4.99 million domestic passengers in the first half, an increase of 17.41%. The airline is looking to grow passenger volumes by 16.6% to 14 million this year. — Cliff Harvey C. Venzon

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