Sriwijaya Air revives Davao-Manado route

Mick Basa
Sriwijaya Air revives Davao-Manado route
The route will reduce travel distance and costs to Davao's sister city located in the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi

MANILA, Philippines – Indonesian airline Sriwijaya Air has revived an old route that links the cities of Davao and Manado, Indonesia through a chartered flight launched on Monday, September 1, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

Arturo Boncato, DOT assistant secretary on tourism regulation, coordination and resource generation, said the maiden flight is one of the initiatives of government and private sector to connect Mindanao to other destinations in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“Davao-Manado is strategic in connecting North Sulawesi to Mindanao as we are close to each other than our capital cities are to each other. It can spur economic activity to include trade and tourism that would create its own ripple effect in our areas,” Boncato told Rappler in a text message.

Sriwijaya Air’s maiden Davao-Manado flight carried 90 government and business delegates from North Sulawesi who visited Davao and General Santos cities, according Romeo Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) director for investment promotion and public affairs.

Tour operators Dream World Travel and Tour in Davao City and Philman Travel and Tour in Manado City are being tapped to arrange flight bookings for passengers who wish to travel on the chartered Sriwijaya flight, said Soehardi, chair of Diaspora Indonesia in the Philippines. 

Soehardi said a round trip costs $300, while one-way costs $200. Excess cargoes are charged $5 per kilogram. As a chartered service, schedule of flights is irregular.

Davao City government and business leaders in July 1993 flew to Manado using the old route to explore trade opportunities in Manado and Bitung, North Sulawesi. It led to the creation of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area the following year. Photo by Peter Laviña

Several airlines have attempted to revive the route, which will reduce travel time and costs for passengers coming from Southern Philippines and traveling to North Sulawesi.

Without the route, passengers will take the usual Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Manado or the Davao-Cebu-Singapore-Manado routes.

In 2012, Cebu-based Midsea Travel Express operated a similar route with its 19-seater Jestream 32 once a week from Davao to Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, North Sulawesi. But the service was discontinued.

“Manado is progressive but has enough room for more international or regional investments. Mindanao is ideal for education and medical needs of North Sulawesi not to mention shopping and leisure and entertainment,” said Boncato. 

The Philippines and Indonesia are strong trade and investment partners, according to MinDA. North Sulawesi investments include PT Sinar Pure Foods International, PT Samudra, PT Karabha Sakti/Alliance Tuna International, and PT Citra Raja Ampat. –

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