By Antonio L. Colina IV
Davao City – The government has urged the airline industry to revive air connection between Davao City and Manado in the North Sulawesi, as the launch of the new Davao-General Santos City-Bitung sea route will also create demands for direct flights from business travelers between Philippines and Indonesia, Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncator Jr. said,
The weekly Davao-General Santos-Bitung sea route is slated for launch in the city on April 30 to coincide with the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Summit (ASEAN) Summit.
Boncato said the air link will provide an ease of travel for businessmen from both countries.
“We are talking to the air travel industry now because this (the sea link) is just purely cargo connection. Definitely, there will be a need for the businessmen to fly straight to Davao or Gensan. The best way to do that is by flying straight out of Sulawesi to Mindanao, so this is an opportunity for our air linkage partners to see and look at or maybe chartering first (new) flights,” he said.
There was a regular Davao-Manado flight but this was halted in 2008 for lack of load factor.
Boncato said he was very optimistic for the Davao-Gensan-Bitung route as it will favor exporters from both countries who will enjoy a shorter travel period for commodities and cheaper shipment costs.
Under the current Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Bitung sea route, goods from Davao will take about three to five weeks before reaching the destination. But with the Davao-Gensan-Bitung route, this will only take a day and a half.
“This will cut time in moving goods from certain parts of the Philippines to parts Indonesia. This is a very good route to move products from the Philippines to Indonesia, China, (South) Korea, and the rest of the world because it is very strategic and great for our local producers,” he said.
Transportation Undersecretary Fernando Juan C. Perez described the route as a “gold mine” because it will open up a lot of opportunities for exporters from both countries.