Davao-Manado chartered flights resume

MANILA, Philippines - Indonesian carrier Wings Air has resumed its chartered flights services between Manado and Davao using a 70-seater twin-engine aircraft.

The flights, which were revived in June after ending in 2008, are expected to boost tourism and trade among cities of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

Wings Air is a subsidiary ofIndonesia's largest privately run airline Lion Air.

“This progress will greatly benefit our traders and businessmen who have major transactions in either Manado or Davao, and other nearby cities,” said Shelly Sondakh of the BIMP-EAGA Secretariat in Manado.

Davao, which is located south of Mindanao, and Manado, located in North Sulawesi region, are sister cities that have ongoing agreements on free exchange of tourism, socio-cultural and economic benefits. When direct flights ended in 2008, passengers bound for Manado took the circuitous and subsequently costly Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Manado route.

“Connectivity initiatives like this truly present a cheaper and faster movement of goods and travelers. We hope to see more of these efforts in the coming months,” said Luwalhati Antonino, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairperson and Philippine Signing Minister for BIMP-EAGA.

Dreamworld Travel and Tours, the official ticketing and booking office of Wings Air, said most of their passengers are crew of some Indonesian fishing vessels in General Santos and Davao City who opted to fly back home whenever ships are not available.

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. - Rappler.com

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