QANTAS Airlines, Australia's flag-carrier, is eyeing Davao City as its regional hub, said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday.
Duterte mentioned Qantas' plan while discussing the significance of the P5.5 billion Davao International Airport (DIA) to the region's economy.
The current headquarters of Qantas in Southeast Asia is in Bali, Indonesia, where a twin-blast blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists killed more than 200 people last year, mostly Australian tourists. Bali, an island paradise resort, services more flights than Jakarta, capital of Indonesia.
The mayor refused to give details of the Qantas plan, but he said the strategic location of the DIA augurs well for the City's bid to become the regional center of transnational travel and tourism in this part of the world.
For one thing, he said, Davao City is nearer to Darwin in the Northern Territories of Australia than Manila and other points.
He said the DIA is the Philippines' most beautiful airport today.
Duterte also reported that Davao hotels now enjoy an occupancy rate--higher than the past months--saying City Hall could hardly get accommodation for its visitors.
Ildie Bontia, general manager of Grand Regal Hotel, confirmed the mayor's statement, saying the hotel has a daily occupancy rate not lower than 70 percent. The other top hotels in the City are Waterfront Insular Hotel, Apo View Hotel, Marco Polo Davao and Royal Mandaya.
Mayor Duterte bared the DIA will be managed and operated by the Air Transportation Office, saying it is not yet time to establish an airport authority.
An airport authority would need hundreds of millions of pesos as start-up capital before it could efficiently and profitably operate the international airport whose initial income will not be enough to sustain operation, Duterte said. He said the DIA should learn a lesson from the airport authority in Cebu in order to avoid encountering financial trouble.
The Philippine Airlines and other companies using the Cebu International Airport in Mactan Island are complaining about the state of disrepair of the CIA runway. PAL has threatened to stop its flights to Cebu if the runway would not be fixed immediately.
Well it would be great if QF does choose DVO as the hub so it can get some international traffic tricking through.
[Edited 2003-12-08 00:00:11]