PAL eyes Davao-Darwin flight

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 February) – The Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to open a direct flight between Davao and Darwin, Australia once the Philippines regains category one status under the international safety rules on aviation.

Felix J. Cruz, vice president for marketing support of PAL, said yesterday in a press briefing on the PAL Interclub at Marco Polo Hotel that the plan might be implemented by next year if the foreign regulating body will finally lift the status from category two to category one within this year.

In 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the status of the country from category one to category two. A country with a category two status means that it has failed to meet the minimum safety oversight standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

FAA’s move also prompted European states to place the Philippines on a blacklist.

Cruz said the issues placing the country under category two status should be resolved first before the airline company could push through with its plan to expand its services in other cities of the world like in Europe, Australia and the United States.

He said one of the firm’s plan is to have a direct flight between Davao and Darwin upon noting the great potential of the Australian market.

At present, PAL has direct flights between Manila and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, also in Australia.

“Now, we are looking into having a direct flight between Davao and Darwin because compared to Manila, Davao is nearer to Darwin. Australian tourists from Darwin also love beaches that Davao could offer. I think Davao has a great potential to draw more Australian tourists,” he said.

He explained that the area has various natural sites and products and many hotels where the tourists can stay.

PAL is also looking into having direct flights between Davao and some areas in Indonesia, although there is no concrete plans yet to revive the Davao-Manado route. (MindaNews)