PAL eyes Davao-Manado route

PHILIPPINE  flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is evaluating the feasibility of re-establishing the Davao-Manado, Indonesia air linkage.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro told reporters on Friday at the sidelines on Davao-General Santos-Bitung Shipping Service Forum at SMX Davao Convention Center in SM Lanang Premier that the airline company is now studying of servicing that

Reports cited that PAL conducted study on what are the potential routes from Davao to Bimp-Eaga and Asean. The company earlier revealed it is planning to service the routes between the city and Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and Singapore.

The airline company is looking at the city’s potential to serve as a point to link to other destinations especially in Bimp-Eaga sub-region.

Should the plan to connect from Davao to Manado push through, Montenegro said it is now more feasible before because of the improving economic growth in the city. He said the air link would now attract more travelers like those from business sector, students and tourists.

“The challenge before was the low load factor as huge aircraft was used to service the air linkage,” Montenegro said.

The regular direct flights from Davao to Manado halted in 2008 due to low load factor. The air linkage was revived in 2014 via Sriwijaya Air but only through chartered flights.

The air connectivity will take one hour and 15 minutes.

With the roll-on/roll-off from Davao-General Santos to Bitung in Indonesia, Montenegro said they hoped that the air linkages will follow. He said the city is a viable option on where Indonesians can obtain education and medical assistance.

MinDA Secretary Datu HJ. Abul Khayr D. Alonto said they are strongly pushing for direct connectivity from Mindanao to Bimp-Eaga. With the shipping servive that is now gaining ground, he said they hoped that airline companies would also consider in establishing direct flights.

“Hopefully, there would be air links and have an airline to service the sub-region, Bimp-Eaga,” Alonto said. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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