Dvo-PPrincesa-KK route eyed

BUDGET airline AirAsia Philippines is studying the possibility of servicing the Davao-Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu route, instead of just the Davao-Kota Kinabalu route.

At the sidelines of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce meeting where she spoke, lawyer Josephine Joy D. Caneba, company chief executive officer, told the TIMES that the company is considering to serve the route to provide people from Davao and nearby areas access to both Puerto Princesa and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

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AIRASIA Philippines chief executive officer Josephine Joy D. Caneba discusses the company’s program during the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry general membership meeting at Grand Men seng Hotel. At right is chamber president Antonio Dela Cruz. BING GONZALES

“The route is very promising, I think, because, travelers from the city can travel between Puerto Princesa (a tourism city in Palawan) and Kota Kinabalu easier and I think, based on our Manila-Kota Kinabalu experience, there really is traffic,” said Caneba as the company also resumed the Davao-Manila flight after aborting the service late in 2013.

At present, the airline is flying the Davao-Manila route at a three times daily frequency, but Caneba said with the encouraging traffic, adding more flights is not far-fetched.

Tourism Regional Director Roberto P. Alabado III, who joined other officials in welcoming Caneba’s all-women crew at the Davao International Airport, said the revival of the flight as well as the plan to service more routes out of the Davao International Airport, is a welcome development.

“We need more of these services so help our tourism industry,” Alabado told the TIMES, adding that the agency will also help airline industry players so they will be able to sustain their services.

On the same day, the airline also launched its inaugural flight for the Cebu-Kota Kinabalu route.

In welcoming the initiative of the company, the Malaysian consul general in the city, Abdullah Zawawi Tahir said he hopes the company will also consider flying between Davao and Kota Kinabalu.

“(Servicing the) Davao-Kota Kinabalu route will allow the faster flow of goods between the two destinations,” he told the TIMES.

Tahir, who was also on hand to welcome Caneba’s group, said the route must also be serviced because this will provide the much-needed shot in the arm for the tourism industry of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area.

Hatched about 20 years, among the sub-regional grouping has been to grow the tourism industry of the areas that are far from their capital. In the case of Malaysia and the Philippines, develop the tourism industry of Kota Kinabalu and Mindanao, respectively.

Caneba said the company has also been looking for other areas in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations including the member-countries of the sub-region. The airline has even launched the Asean Pass, a pass that allows the buyer to travel cheap in chosen Asean destinations.

She added the company is also looking at developing hubs aside from Manila and Cebu. “We are considering Kalibo (in Aklan) and Davao,” she added.

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