COTABATO CITY (Mindanews / 02 December) — A Philippine Airlines (PAL) 86-seat Q 400 plane from Mactan International Airport landed at the Cotabato-Awang airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte on Thursday morning, opening an air route between Cebu in the Visayas and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
A water cannon salute greeted the plane’s maiden flight, which BARMM officials said opened up opportunities for the region’s economy and tourism.
The plane landed around 7 am, ahead of schedule, with 33 passengers on board before proceeding to Tawi-Tawi, BARMM’s southernmost province.
PAL-Cotabato manager Delfin Tubera Jr. said the flights to and from Tawi-Tawi were fully booked.
According to Rosslaini Alonto-Sinarimbo, BARMM Trade, Investment and Tourism Director-General, the direct air link to Cebu would boost the region’s tourism and economy especially during the holidays and the celebration of the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival.
“This is very exciting. We know how important Cebu City is in terms of facilitating trade, bringing in investments, and tourism. We can do a lot of marketing promotion with this,” Maritess Maguindra, BARMM tourism director said.
PAL started serving the Cotabato-Tawi-Tawi route on June 9 with two flights a week. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)