By James A. Loyola
AirAsia, the world’s best low-cost airline, has linked Davao City to its international hub with the launch of its latest route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The four times weekly direct flights from Davao to Kuala Lumpur will start on December 21, 2017, said AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes during the Davao Investment Conference.
Fernandes said the new route will cater to SME businessmen, migrant workers and tourists. The new route marks as the fourth direct route from the Philippines to Malaysia after Manila, Cebu and Kalibo.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said, “Our aim for the (Davao) city is to grow it to become a hub for financial, tourism, service and education in Mindanao. The introduction of the direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Davao could not be more timely and is a key step in this direction to empower local players across various economic activities.”
Fernandes said “Davao has a special place in my heart. It was one of the first cities we flew to when we started our Philippine operations in 2012.”
“Since then, we have worked to strengthen our network in Davao. In this year alone, we have launched new flights from Davao to Cebu, Palawan and Boracay, and enabled Fly-Thru via Cebu to international destinations such as Singapore, Taipei and Seoul,” he added.
Fernandes noted that, “Davao has the potential to be the international gateway for ASEAN to the southern Philippines, beginning with this new route to Kuala Lumpur.”
To celebrate the new route, AirAsia announced all-in-fares from as low as R99* one-way are available for booking from July 21, 2017 until July 30, 2017 for the travel period from December 22, 2017 to August 28, 2018.
Meanwhile, Philippines AirAsia President Dexter Comendador said they are developing Davao to be a new hub for the airline and are planning to add more international destinations, particularly in the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asia Growth Area).
Comendador noted that travellers flying to BIMP-EAGA are exempted from paying travel taxes and this will be a good incentive for them to use the Davao hub.
Aside from Davao, AirAsia is also developing Puerto Princesa, Palawan and Panglao, Bohol as new hubs for the airline by next year.