Airport readiness hampers Zambo-Sandakan air service

THE BRUNEI Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (Bimp-Eaga) Business Council (BEBC) is pushing for the realization of the air route between Zamboanga City and Sandakan in Malaysia by the end of the year.

DATUK Roselan Johar Mohamed, former chair of Bimp-Eaga Business Council, officially turns over the position to Vicente T. Lao, who would now sit as the new chair of the council. Lao vows to boost connectivity in the sub-region within his three-year term. KMF

DATUK Roselan Johar Mohamed, former chair of Bimp-Eaga Business Council, officially turns over the position to Vicente T. Lao, who would now sit as the new chair of the council. Lao vows to boost connectivity in the sub-region within his three-year term. KMF

 Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed, former chair of BEBC, said on Tuesday during the turnover ceremony of the council’s chairmanship at Marco Polo Davao Hotel that the plan to service the route would have been realized, but the lack of airport equipment prevented the airline to pursue it.

 “The proposed linkage between Zamboanga and Sandakan by Cebu Pacific last Oct. 26 did not materialize because Zamboanga airport was not ready to host an international flight due to want of specific machines (that the airport needs to install before it can be used by international carriers),” Mohamed said.

 The BEBC, he said, is hoping that the needed machines will be ready by the end of the year as the budget material requisition has been already filed. Once these are installed, the airline may eventually push it through, he said.

 The BEBC is the official representative organization of the private sector in Bimp-Eaga.

 Vicente T. Lao, the new chair of the BEBC, said they would be boosting efforts to strengthen the connectivity within the sub-region. He said it is among his priorities during his three-year term as the head of the council.

 “We would like to strengthen connectivity to boost tourism and bring ease in doing business in Bimp-Eaga,” Lao said.

 Part of boosting their efforts, he said they would push for the relaxation of landing rights to spur tourism and trade in the sub-region. He said it is best that special rates would be offered to airlines so the cost of the airline tickets would also be reduced, which would help increase tourist arrivals.

 The millennials, he said, are a potential market that could bolster tourism receipts once the cost of going to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia from Mindanao and Palawan would decline. The growth area covered Mindanao and Palawan on the part of the Philippines.

 “While these would imply that the revenues of the airports would go down because of the special rates, our tourism and trade would potentially increase if the rates on landing rights would be reduced for the airlines,” Lao said.

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