Biz chamber to look for other international destinations for Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 June) – The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) will explore other viable international destinations for Davao International Airport as Malaysia’s budget airline, AirAsia, will stop the four times a week direct Davao City-Kuala Lumpur flights beginning August 20 due to insufficient load factor.

The Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by Bobby Timonera

In a statement on Monday, DCCCI president Arturo Milan said they were saddened to learn about the stoppage of the Davao City-Kuala Lumpur flights launched only last December 21 but expressed appreciation to AirAsia chief executive officer Anthony Francis “Tony” Fernandes for helping promote the city’s air connectivity.

It was Fernandes himself who made the announcement of the Davao-Kuala Lumpur direct flights with President Rodrigo R. Duterte during the 4th Davao Investment Conference (Davao iCon) at the SMX Convention Center Davao July 22 last year.

He said the launch came after his meeting with Duterte who urged him to open a new flight from Davao City to Malaysia during their meeting in Cambodia in May 2017 for the World Economic Forum on Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Milan said the route was not able to generate enough passengers and cargoes to make it viable.

“However, we will continue to explore other viable international destinations for the Davao International Airport,” he said.

City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson said the bulk of the travellers who availed of the route mostly came from Davao and hoped the Department of Tourism could have helped market the destination in other “neighboring regions.”

“We hope though that AirAsia may decide to retain even one flight a week from Kuala Lumpur to Davao, and perhaps get people used to the idea of the direct flight,” she said.

Last month, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Group announced that it will launch a direct Davao-Hong Kong flight four times a week starting October 28.

The Cathay Pacific Group with regional airline Cathay Dragon introduced two new routes – Davao City and Medan, the thriving capital of North Sumatra in Indonesia.

The airline firm will fly to Medan thrice a week starting October 29.

The two cities are the eighth and ninth new destinations of Cathay Pacific that will boost Hong Kong’s connections with two founding member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the firm announced on April 30. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)