DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 January)—The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and executives of an airline company are planning to conduct a two-day technical visit to Manado, Indonesia in the last week of January to discuss with their counterparts the possible resumption of Davao-Manado-Davao flights.
Dr. Adrian Tamayo, public relations division chief of MinDA, told MindaNews that they hope to have “more in-depth consultations and dialogues with clear and concrete outcomes between Davao and Manado players are expected.”
The technical visit will follow through on the business mission held last January 4 to North Sulawesi, Indonesia conducted to explore the feasibility of reopening the Davao-Manado-Davao air connectivity that was disrupted in March 2020 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Leading Edge Air Services Corporation (LEASCOR), the aviation arm of ACDI Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC), has committed to service the route.
“It was an exploratory mission to revive the route owing to the fact that business activities are returning to normal after the pandemic, and perhaps the route is now ripe for revival,” Tamayo said of the recent business mission to Indonesia.
He said that during the mission, Mindanawon delegates and their Indonesian counterparts agreed to revive the air route, provided that the requirements, particularly Customs, Immigration, Quarantine, and Security can be worked out.
Tamayo said that private sectors and business groups within the East ASEAN Growth Area have thrown support behind efforts to reopen the route.
He said initial small group discussions were conducted virtually last January 8, which was attended by key officials and business representatives of Manado, MinDA, and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Garuda Group’s Citylink Indonesia revived Davao-Manado-Davao air route with its twice-weekly flights on September 27, 2019. However, then Mayor Sara Duterte suspended four international flights, including Garuda’s Davao-Manado-Davao, and 21 domestic flights from Davao International Airport effective March 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Under the “Air Transport Agreement” signed between the Philippines and Indonesia on March 24, 1972, the two countries agreed to enhance the mutually beneficial economic relations and people-to-people contact stemming from centuries-old ties of both nations.
A subsequent memorandum of understanding on the expansion of air linkages between and among Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines was also signed in 2007 where Davao and Manado had been identified as designated points. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)