PH-Indonesia to revive Davao-Manado flights
The governments of the Philippines and Indonesia have agreed to revive flights to and from the countries’ bustling cities of Davao and Manado.
In a statement of commitment dated September 1 and signed by Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee and Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, the two countries agreed “to promote… the re-establishment of flights between Davao and Manado.”
“It is our hope that this effort would contribute to the increase in tourism, trade and investment between our two countries,” it added.
The initiative was an “enhancement” of the Air Transport Agreement between the two countries signed in 1972. This led to the development in 2007 of a memorandum of understanding on the expansion of air linkages among Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (BIMP), where Davao and Manado were named designated points.
“Davao is an economic powerhouse in the country and Manado is both a business center and a gateway to some of the many exciting activities in Indonesia. Together, we will make wonders,” said Manuel Antonio Tamayo, transport undersecretary for airports and aviation, who also witnessed the signing.
According to Tamayo, commercial flights between the two cities will also ease the travel of students from Manado studying in Davao.
The signing of the joint statement was a result of the discussion among the ambassadors of the two countries, and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in a meeting on August 31.
“We are very happy with this development. This shows that the Philippine and Indonesian governments are both working to improve bilateral relations, as well as make the region more competitive in the face of global challenges,” Tugade said.
In a statement, Tamayo said that a local carrier will be sending “in the next few days” a team to Manado to study the route viability. Meanwhile, an Indonesian low-cost carrier also “expressed its interest” in launching Manadao-Davao flights.
Flight between the airports of the two cities 625 kilometers apart, will take an hour and 15 minutes.
Without direct flights, passengers need to take the longer routes of Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Manado or the Davao-Cebu-Singapore-Manado.
Regular flights from Davao to Manado were discontinued in 2008 due to low passenger load factor. Sriwijaya Air revived the air linkage in 2014 but only through chartered flights. /kga
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