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Davao eyes more international flights

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing more local and international flights at the Davao International Airport as part of efforts to make the city an international gateway to the Mindanao region.

Robi Alabado, DOT Region 11 director, said the agency held a meeting with the Department of Transportation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to discuss how they can attract airlines to serve more flights at the Davao International Airport.

“What we would like to have is more international linkages because right now, it’s only to Singapore. We would like to expand it to more destinations,” Alabado told The STAR.

“I hope that airlines can connect Davao to countries, such as, Malaysia, Japan and China. Those are the opportunities our locals and tourists are looking forward to,” he said.

Establishing direct linkages to more countries would boost tourist arrivals in the Davao region and Mindanao, Alabado added.

Just last year, tourist arrivals in the Davao region reached 2.8 million. The DOT expects this figure to increase to three million  in 2016.

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Civil Aeronautics Board  executive director Carmelo Arcilla, for his part, said the government is encouraging airlines to add more flights in secondary gateways, such as the Davao International Airport.

“So far, our secondary gateways have not reached overcapacity yet. They can still absorb a lot more flights,” Arcilla said.

However, he said while the airport still has the capacity to accommodate more flights, the government was also studying the expansion of the Davao airport.

As Davao City manifests itself more as a business hub, the demand for air travel to the city will also increase, Arcilla said.

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