In the Philippines, particularly the main island of Mindanao, the truth was that if anyone from there was planning to fly overseas, they would need to go to Luzon or the Visayas and book flights from their airports. While yes, Mindanao does have facilities designated as “international” airports in Zamboanga City, Davao City, and GenSan, all with the sufficient infrastructure to handle flights to and from overseas, but thus far they have been mostly relegated to domestic flights, with only Davao City’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport having air service to and from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And now their international flight offerings have been expanded with a new addition.

ABS-CBN News has it that Cathay Pacific finally made the first ever direct air connection between Mindanao and the world, when it launched its direct flights to and from Hong Kong at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City this Sunday, October 28. It is a major coup for the city with the connection to perhaps the most often-visited and first-time foreign destination of Filipinos, strengthening its position as an aerial gateway to Mindanao. Four DVO-HK/HK-DVO flights have been lined up for the new route, with one more possibly debuting later during the Holidays.

Cathay Pacific commercial director Ronald Lam was candid in their airline’s interest of establishing itself in Mindanao. “Davao was on our radar scheme for route launch for quite some time and I’m so glad that this time has come,” he said. The carrier’s country manager Rob Bradshaw also agrees in his statement to Business World. “The strategy is, let’s make Davao work,” he said on a recent press briefing. “We know that some airlines have come and gone, we don’t want to do that. Focus on that, and that will take time, and then we’ll see (about other Mindanao destinations).”

The Cathay Pacific route between Davao and Hong Kong is to be flown by Airbus A320 airliners under regional service Cathay Dragon, with an average air fare of somewhere around P9,000 per ticket. The initial four flight days for DVO-HK and vice versa are every Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays of the week. Hong Kong flights departing 12:35 PM local time will arrive in Davao at 3:50 PM, then departing Davao 4:50 PM to arrive at Hong Kong 8:00 PM. A fifth flight day is being considered by Cathay Pacific according to Bradshaw to run from December to January, Christmastime.

Primary customers of the new Cathay Pacific DVO-HK route are predicted to be a mix of Overseas Filipino Workers either departing for job orders or returning as “Balikbayan”, along with tourists wanting to visit scenic Hong Kong and its various attractions like Hong Kong Disneyland.

Image courtesy of Business World

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