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Lack of beds in holding capacity limits DIA from adding more flights

With not enough beds in the holding area of the Davao International Airport (DIA), Davao City cannot have additional international flights at the moment.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said that while the city government of Davao wants more international flights to DIA, the lack of beds in the holding facility for arriving plane passengers make it impossible to happen.    

“We want nga masabtan sa mga airlines nga gusto gyud nato nga dungagan ang atoang mga flights going to DIA, unfortunately sa pagka-karon short ta sa target nato nga 1,000 beds sa holding facility for plane passengers because diri sa atoa we want to catch the positive (passengers) pag-abot dayon para dili na sila ma-immerse sa atoang mga communities and send all the rest to home quarantine,” she said. 

Starting July 22, 2020, the city government of Davao has required all arriving passengers in Davao City to undergo RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing before exit from the Davao Airport to ensure that travelers who enter the city are negative from Covid-19.

Without the negative RT-PCR test results, passengers undergo tests and wait inside the holding facility for at least 24 hours until their results come out. If they test positive, they will be referred to the Southern Philippines Medical Center. If negative, they will be allowed to go home and be quarantined for 14 days.

The city government has designated six quarantine facilities in the city to cater to Covid-19 cases with a total of 285-bed capacity.

“As I said last time, ang gusto nato is that our city remains open and people live as close to normal as possible despite the pandemic. Mao ng nag-target ta ug 1,000 beds because we also want to allow more flights in Davao City,” Mayor Sara said adding that there are some airlines who already expressed interest to resume their flights to DIA. 

“Daghan nag-padayag ug interest nga ibalik na ang ilang flights sa Davao pero kita ang gasulti nga dili becasue of our limits and policy of catching the positives,” she said. 

Presently, some international flights that extended their suspension of flights to DIA include: SilkAir with flight cancellations extended until August 2020; Qatar Airways extended their cancelation until October 31, 2020; Cathay Pacific extended their cancelations until October 23, 2020; and Garuda Airlines with probable resumption of flights will be on October to December.

Mayor Sara added that Cebu Pacific and Xiamen Airlines will decide as soon as international flights restrictions in DIA are lifted per active notice to airmen.

“So ngano gusto nato mag-dungag ug mga flights to Davao City? Because we want to go back to full operation of the Davao airport as before and subject also sa travel restrictions nga i-impose sa atoang national government and other countries around the world,” she said.