Davao airport already crowded, says biz leader

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Apr) – The terminals at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport here are already crowded with the increased number of tourists, and expected to worsen with the possible opening of international flights to three destinations.

Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Arturo Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII), urged government to improve facilities to ease the congestion.

He said in an interview that the situation at the airport should pressure government to work on modernizing the terminals. But Milan was quick to say “that’s a better problem to solve rather than having a terminal without any flights at all.”

The City Tourism Office recorded a total of 2,009,879 tourists last year, which increased from 1,716,224 tourists recorded in 2016.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government would bid out operations and maintenance improvement for the upgrade aimed to turn the airport “into a world class domestic/international hub by opening up the operations and maintenance to topnotch operators.”

The cost for the upgrading is P40.6 billion.

Milan said three international flights – to Qatar, Hong Kong, and Japan – would soon open up in Davao that will make the airport even busier.

Qatar Airways announced that cities of Davao and Cebu are among the four areas in Southeast Asia where they plan to establish direct flights from 2018 until 2019 as part of the company’s aggressive expansion plans.

Milan said the Davao-Hong Kong route would be reopened but did not disclose the airline behind the plan.

He said their Japanese are so aggressive at establishing Davao-Japan-Davao flights that they want to have it established before this year’s Kadayawan Festival.

“We have already talked with Japanese counterparts in the tourism industry so they are very interested that soon there should be a direct flight from Davao to Japan [and] they really wanted it before the Kadayawan,” Milan said.

He said their counterparts in Japan are eyeing to establish direct flights from Davao to Tokyo, Haneda, or Nagoya.

The airport here has currently two international destinations – Kuala Lumpur serviced by AirAsia and Singapore by SilkAir.

The most number of foreign nationals who visited Davao City last year came from the United States with 20,779; Japan, 12,510; China, 9,231; Korea, 7,550; Australia, 5,929; India, 4,976; Singapore, 4,040; Canada, 4,016; UK, 3,282; and Saudi Arabia, 2,371. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)