Davao-KL flight starts December

AFTER nearly two decades, the city will be connected anew with Malaysia via budget carrier AirAsia that would directly link the city to Kuala Lumpur beginning Dec. 21.

 Anthony Francis Fernandes, chief executive officer of AirAsia, said during yesterday’s Davao Investment Conference at SMX Davao Convention Center that the city has vast potentials to attract tourists and investors from Malaysia, which has been touted as among the top chosen destinations with about 2 million tourists a month.

 This, Fernandes said, is their first air link from Davao as they planned to connect the city to nine more other international destinations within the next three years.

 “We will bring the world to Davao,” Fernandes said.

 Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the introduction of the new direct flight between Kuala Lumpur and Davao is timely, which could further boost the tourist and investor influx in the city. As of the first quarter, the City Tourism Operation Office recorded 459,104 tourist arrivals.

 The city government targeted to reach 2 million in tourist arrivals by the end of the year.

 “(The Davao-Kuala Lumpur direct flight) is a key step in this direction to empower local players across various economic activities,” Carpio said.

 The Davao-Kuala Lumpur will be the second international direct flight at Davao International Airport, next to the current route from the city to Singapore. Backed in 1996, there was a direct link to Malaysia specifically from the city to Kota Kinabalu.

 Arturo Milan, trustee of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said the air connectivity was halted following the Asian financial crisis in 1998. Now that the economy has normalized, he said they hoped that new air link will be sustained.

 “We also hope that there would be direct flights to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and in Manado and Jakarta, Indonesia,” Milan said.

 The Malaysian-based airline company AirAsia has been servicing the city since five years ago, beginning with Clark-Davao route which was temporarily stopped for a while but resumed this year along with new other routes from the city to Palawan, Cebu and Boracay.

 The company also has a Davao-Manila connectivity since 2015.

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