AirAsia chief executive officer Anthony Francis “Tony” Fernandes has expressed interest to build a separate terminal in Davao City for the exclusive use of their passengers and another infrastructure for their aircraft, Department of Tourism 11 director Roberto Alabado said.
During the 4th Turismo Café organized by the Davao Tourism Association at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, Alabado said this is in line with AirAsia’s plans to position the city as their hub in the country.
He speculated that new destinations would be opened if the plan pushes through.
AirAsia’s CEO committed to have more flights coming from Davao, he said.
Fernandes was in Davao City last July 21 for the launch of the four times weekly Davao-Kuala Lumpur flight starting December 21 during the opening of the two-day Davao Investment Conference (Davao iCon) at the SMX Convention Center.
Before the Davao-KL direct connectivity, Alabado added, Mindanao was not connected to the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asean Growth Area sub-economic region.
Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. chair Antonio Dela Cruz said he believes Fernandes, who saved the then fledgling airline and transformed it into one of the leading low-cost carriers, will do it depending on the demand.
He said the airline constructed the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 and made it its main hub.
Dela Cruz added they hope AirAsia will open a direct connectivity to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Jakarta in Indonesia, Bangkok in Thailand, Macau, and Myanmar.
He said he believes it will happen depending on the turnout of the Davao-KL flights.
“When AirAsia said it, it will do something about it. We will not be surprised ,” he said.
Last July 21, Fernandes said Davao-KL flights that will start on December 21 will be serviced by one aircraft but plans to increase it should the demand pick up.
He said he also hopes the Philippine government would lift the travel tax on airline companies.
He suggested to begin with new destinations in the Philippines that have no international flights yet.
“You’re not losing much by removing travel tax, for instance in Davao. Tourism department is not losing a lot. And so we could grow quicker,” he said.
This new route will bring to four the total number of AirAsia’s direct connectivity to Malaysia after Manila, Cebu and Kalibo in Aklan. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)