13th July, 2012
KOTA KINABALU: Indonesian carrier, Wings Air, has resumed its chartered flight services between Manado and Davao-Manado route, using a 70-seater twin-engine aircraft.
Wings Air, a unit of Indonesia’s largest privately-run Lion Air, started reviving the Manado-Davao flight last month. It has served the same route back in 2008.
Shelly Sondakh of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) secretariat in Manado, said this progress would greatly benefit traders and businessmen who had major transactions in either Manado or Davao, and other nearby cities.
“These two proximate EAGA areas situated along the southern part of Mindanao and North Sulawesi, Indonesia have for years established twinning ties through a sister-city relationship that has helped enhance the ongoing free exchange of tourism, socio-cultural and economic benefits in both cities.
“Prior to Wings Air’s launching, passengers bound for Manado would need to take the circuitous and subsequently costly Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Manado route,” she said in a statement released through the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) here yesterday.
Luwalhati Antonino, MinDA chairperson and Philippine Signing Minister for BIMP-EAGA, said connectivity initiatives like this truly presented a cheaper and faster movement of goods and travellers.
“We hope to see more of these efforts in the coming months,” said Antonino said.
Dreamworld Travel and Tours, the official ticketing and booking office of Wings Air, said most of their passengers were crew of some Indonesian fishing vessels in General Santos and Davao City who opted to fly back home whenever ships were not available.
Manado is also a home to word-class diving sites, which has been a favourite destination of local and international tourists.
Meanwhile, another inter-EAGA flight is likewise expected to be launched within the year, serving Davao-Manado-Kota Kinabalu and Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu routes, which will be pioneered by MASwings.
“We urge our local tourism and transport sectors to create enticing tour packages that will highlight the unique eco-tourism sites of each destination as one of the ways to sustain these routes,” said Antonino.
BIMP-EAGA is an economic cooperation formally created in 1994 covering the entire Brunei Darussalam; 10 provinces in the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and Irian Jaya; Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan in Malaysia; and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines.