PH, Indonesia sign deal on revival of Davao-Manado flights

By Aerol John Pateña

September 3, 2018, 5:32 pm

MANILA -- The governments of the Philippines and Indonesia have signed an agreement that will pave the way for the resumption of flights from Davao City to Manado in North Sulawesi.

The revival of this route will boost trade, tourism and investments in both countries according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The agreement was signed by Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee and Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Sinyo Harry Sarundajang on Saturday (September 1) at the Indonesian Embassy.

The reestablishment of the Davao-Manado flights was reportedly the fruit of discussions between Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Ambassador Wee and Ambassador Sarundajang held 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 Monday.

For his part, DOTr Undersecretary for Airports and Aviation Capt. Manuel Antonio Tamayo said the Davao-Manado flights will strengthen the trade and tourism industries in the Philippines and Indonesia.

“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. Apart from trade and tourism, there are also students from Manado studying in Davao and other cities who now do not have to travel to Jakarta to board a plane to Manila only to board another connecting flight to Davao,” according to Tamayo.

The transportation official likewise said that a Philippine carrier will be sending a team to Manado to assess its viability within the next few days.

A low cost carrier from Indonesia also expressed its interest in launching Manado – Davao flights.

The re-establishment of the Davao – Manado flights is an enhancement of the Air Transport Agreement between the two nations that was signed on 24 March 1972, which further resulted in the Expansion of Air Linkages between Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines (BIMP) in 2007, where Davao and Manado were the designated points.

The flights were halted in 2008 due to lack of passenger demand. An earlier attempt in the 1990s, shortly after the launch of the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA) comprising of Brunei, East Indonesia, East Malaysia and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines, also failed to generate sustainable demand. (PNA)