DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 December) – Philippine Airlines will launch the twice-weekly flights from Davao City to Manado, Indonesia and Zamboanga City to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on March 31, 2020, a move that shows these routes have gained economic and financial viability, Adrian Tamayo, public relations head of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.
“This is a result of both increasing interests between the two areas in trade and tourism, and the growing population which would naturally, move from place to place,” Tamayo told MindaNews on Sunday.
PAL Express will service the new routes every Tuesday and Thursday.
Tamayo expressed confidence that the “long history of cultural integration and the intermix of tradition and customs bearing strong resemblance of Mindanao, Manado and Kota Kinabalu” will ensure the sustainability of the new routes.
He added the growing population in Brunei, Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) a 25-year old sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies, demands need for integration and inclusiveness.
“The BIMP-EAGA is the platform, and connectivity is the vehicle” he added.
Tamayo added that Mindanao will benefit from stronger connectivity owing to “its rich potential given its vast product output and quality human resource.”
MinDA chair Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol said the launch of the new direct flights will boost efforts to link up the members of the BIMP-EAGA. As chair of MinDA, Piñol is the Philippine signing minister for BIMP-EAGA.
For these two direct flights to be sustainable, he said they will intensify promotion of business engagements with Manado and Kota Kinabalu to increase trade activities among these areas because “for so long, puro lang estorya ang BIMP-EAGA (it’s just all talk in BIMP-EAGA.”
Piñol said he wants barter trade with Malaysia and Indonesia.
“These flights have cargo components,” he said.
Last September 2019, Garuda Group’s Citylink Indonesia launched twice-weekly direct flights between Davao City and Manado, Indonesia. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)