Philippines BAe 146 operator Asian Spirit is to be merged with rival domestic airline South East Asian Airlines (Seair). Both airlines are being acquired by Filipino businessman Alfredo M. Yao. Yao reportedly bought Asian Spirit from its owner, the Airline Employees’ Cooperative (AEC), for about PHP1 billion (US$22 million) in late March, and is negotiating to acquire Seair. Yao is chairman of one of the largest fruit-juice makers in the Philippines as well as of a private business bank. He plans to merge the two airlines under a new brand name, and to expand their combined fleet with at least five new aircraft. Asian Spirit currently operates two BAe 146-100s.