2 airlines to open more regional flights this year

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


TWO airline companies are eyeing to open flights along the Davao-Manila, Kota Kinabalu-Davao and Sandakan-Davao routes this year.

Southeast Asian Airlines (Sea Air) president and CEO Avelino Zapanta said aside from the connectivity flight from the Davao International Airport to Manila, they will also start operating the Kota Kinabalu-Clark next month.

He said the connectivity flight from Puerto Princesa to Kota Kinabalu did not last long because it was not sustainable.

"We opened it, but it's the passengers who did not respond. For this to prosper, they need to ride," Zapanta said in a press conference following the morning session of the 1st Equator Asia Air Access Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao Wednesday.

Also, MASwings chief executive officer Mohd Nawawi Awang said it is also part of their plans to open flights from Kota Kinabalu-Davao and Sandakan-Sabah and Sabah-Davao flights. He said this may take place towards the end of the year.

"Three flights a week, when we start," Awang said.

He added that if the plan pushes through, they will need to acquire more aircrafts.

So far, MASwings has 10 aircrafts with a total number of 68 seat-load capacity.

Awang also said that in making this a success airline companies will need the support of the government, tourism sector, and the market themselves.

"They must work together," Awang said, citing Brunei as a country whose government is giving an all-out support for MASwings.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla also said that his department is tasked for the development of infrastructures especially on airports.

Lotilla said they are going to devise correct regulation, right policy, and infrastructure in order to promote Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area, especially the development of more connectivity flights within this region.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 19, 2012.

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