FOLLOWING the launching of AirAsia’s Davao-Kuala Lumpur connectivity, Air Asia targets to have more international direct flights from Davao City.
“There was actually a Chinese group who was negotiating for Air Asia to fly Davao to China. Because that’s also where there’s big traffic that they were saying. The Chinese group went to Tony Fernandes and talked to him, asking ‘Are you willing to open up (a flight) from Davao to China? He was open. Knowing Tony Fernandes, he’s very open,” said Arturo M. Milan, 2017 Davao Investment Conference (Icon) Chairman and Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) trustee.
“In the next three years, there will be a lot of foreign destinations that Air Asia will be opening from Davao,” he added.
Aside from passenger flights from Davao to China, Milan said Fernandes is also considering a cargo flight to bring tuna to China keeping in mind the high demand of tuna in that country.
“Once you have that payload available, you can bring in anything. You can bring in fruits, tuna, aside from passengers of course. Because aircrafts don’t make money only on passengers, they also do in the cargoes,” Milan said.
Milan also said it is part of Air Asia’s plan to have a direct flight from Davao to New Zealand or Australia as it would be more convenient than the current existing flights of Davao-Manila-Australia.
He added that for any investment to happen, investors coming in are first tourists in Davao City. They are to see and experience the place first of all before finally deciding on investing. Once Davao has been established as a hub to international gateways, then tourists and investors will follow pouring in, said Milan.
“These are all just a matter of availability. Once there are available planes flying to anywhere, then that will open up trade and commerce. That’s how linkage is very important, transportation and connectivity, in trying to promote trade and industry,” he said.