DAVAO CITY – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) here is all set for the inaugural flight of Qatar Airways for its Doha–Davao route on June 18.

“So far we are on target for the inaugural flight of Qatar Airways on June 18, but its regular flight will start on June 21st, every Friday,” said CAAP Manager Rex Obcena in a phone interview.

“This (inaugural flight) is different because they have already the paying passengers,” said Obcena, adding Qatar has been accepting online bookings for the Qatar-Davao flight.

Obcena said CAAP has met the safety clearance and other technical requirements for Qatar Airways to use the Francisco Bangoy International Airport. It has yet to seek the service of the third party for cargo movement, warehousing, among others.

On the CAAP side preparation, Obcena said it was ready with the office space and the land area requested by Qatar Airways for the inaugural ceremonies highlighting the 12 Qatari tribes and their cultural tradition.

CAAP has already facilitated the security clearance and the water cannon salute to welcome the aircraft when it lands at the Davao Airport.

Obcena underscored the importance of the Qatar-Davao connection, saying it would not only further boost Davao City’s tourism industry. He noted that the route will primarily benefit the Overseas Filipino Workers and tourists from Mindanao who will no longer need to go to Manila or Cebu to travel to the Middle East and other international destinations.

Qatar–Davao is the fourth international connection to Davao after Silkair’s Singapore – Davao; Jinjiang – Davao serviced by XiamenAir; and, Hong Kong –Davao by Cathay Dragon.

Qatar Airways started accepting bookings and promotional package early this year.

On its website, Qatar Airways described Davao as having an enchanting landscape with bustling energy.

“A lush, green location ringed by sandy beaches and busy little towns, Davao boasts incredible tropical forests and vistas, and is home to various rare orchids, exotic fruits, and towering mango forests,” Qatar Airways said.

It also featured attraction in Davao such as the Crocodile Park, the Eden Nature Park, Mt Apo, the Philippine Eagle Center, the region’s cuisine, and San Pedro Cathedral. (PNA)