Airlines to open more Davao-Manila flights

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 Sep) – Three more flights will be opened for the Manila-Davao-Manila route following the high demand of air travelers and the improvement of the local government’s capacity to test passengers for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction machine (RT-PCR) at the Davao International Airport (DIA).

The Davao Airport. MindaNews file photo by Bobby Timonera

In a virtual press conference on Tuesday, City Tourism and Operations Office head Generose Tecson told reporters that Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia have been permitted to open one additional flight each starting this week on top of their existing twice weekly flights of this route.

She said that the airlines would be the ones to decide as to when they are going to commence these additional flights.

For this week, the available flight schedules for the Mnl-Dvo-Mnl route are Philippines Airlines on September 24, AirAsia on September 24 and 25, and Cebu Pacific on September 25.

The local government of Davao required all inbound passengers with no “negative” RT-PCR test results issued 72 hours before the scheduled departure to undergo a swab test at the Davao International Airport (DIA) before they can proceed home for a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Tecson said that the other existing destinations from Davao City are Clark and Cebu while they are waiting for the reopening of the Iloilo International Airport to resume commercial flights to and from Iloilo City.

“We agreed also that the airlines can conduct hybrid flights,” she said, referring to flights that can come in with cargo and go out with passengers and cargo.

Tecson said that the resumption of international flights would depend on the approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“That’s why we are setting up there at our airport so that the IATF will see that we are ready for international flights also. Although last June or July, the first request of our mayor (Sara Duterte) were international flights only for Singapore and Hong Kong but again the decision is not with us. The decision is with IATF and the airlines themselves,” she said.

Tedson said that arrivals in the city through air travel from March to August this were reported at 128,542, a decrease by 90% from 1,349,730 reported for the same period last year.

She said that most of the travelers for this period were authorized persons outside residence, or individuals who travel for the purpose of work, and returning residents, which include those who are from nearby areas. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)