LOW-COST carrier TigerAir Philippines, which re-launched its daily Manila-Davao-Manila flight on December 2, is looking at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City as its new hub for international flights.
The budget airline is also set to launch its thrice-a-week Clark-Davao-Clark flight on December 17.
“We want to make our Manila-Davao and Clark-Davao routes successful first. If we see potential in Davao as a hub, then we will expand to international flights,” TigerAir Philippines vice president for commercial Jose S. Laurente Jr. said in Tuesday’s press launch at Seda Hotel.
He said they not only want to flourish in the domestic routes but also in international flights. But in order to attain this, he pointed out there is a need for cooperation among tourism stakeholders in Davao Region.
Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Arturo P. Boncato Jr. said if plans materialize for the Davao airport to becomes a hub for the international flights of TigerAir, it will help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“If we become a hub, we don’t need to fly to Manila or Cebu anymore to go to other destinations. Hopefully, in the next three years, we can also see other airlines using Davao as their hub,” he said.
Boncato also said the agency is equipped with guidelines that will help TigerAir and also other airlines in utilizing Davao as a jump-off point to other international destinations.
For instance, he said they can get a 50 percent off in landing and takeoff fees and regulatory fees if these airlines fly within the BIMP-Eaga sub-region.
Laurente said that at present, they are utilizing the NAIA Terminal 4 and Clark International Airport as the airline’s hub.
They are presently developing their lounge at Terminal 4 for their passengers. They are also collaborating with international airlines Emirates and Qatar Airways in connecting their arriving passengers from Clark to Davao.
TigerAir offers seven flights a week for Manila-Davao while three flights a week for Clark-Davao and vice-versa.
Tigerair relaunched its Manila-Davao and introduced their Clark-Davao routes in a press launch at Seda Hotel in Davao City on Tuesday.
“Earlier, in June, we stopped operations here but now, we are back and today, we want to stay. We have also added the Clark-Davao route too, to bring in more passengers here,” Laurente said.
Boncato said the addition of the Clark-Davao route is very strategic since it will now connect Davao City to Northern Philippines.
“Davao City and also the region will have an increase in arrivals through this route,” he said.
Laurente said they have relaunched their Davao routes because of the region’s progressiveness, diversity, and basically being a major tourism destination in Mindanao.
They are also promoting Davao as a place “where business ends with pleasure.”
“Especially to those who are in business trips, we want to maximize their stay in Davao and relax here,” Laurente said.
They also have domestic flights to and from Manila to Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, and Tacloban and Clark to and from Kalibo. International flights are Clark to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore, Kalibo to and from Singapore, and Manila to and from Phuket.
At present, the airline has an existing fleet of three 180 seating capacity Airbus A320s and two 140 seating capacity A319s.
Source: Reuel John F. Lumawag, Sun Star Davao