MALAYSIA AirAsia Berhad is halting flights between Davao and Kuala Lumpur in August. — LEAN S. DAVAL, JR.

DAVAO CITY — Malaysia AirAsia Berhad is dropping its flights between Davao and Kuala Lumpur in August, less than a year after launching the service in December 2017.
In a statement, the budget carrier said it is suspending the four times weekly direct flight starting Aug. 21 due to “commercial reasons.”
Davao City Tourism Operations Office officer-in-charge Generose D. Tecson also confirmed the cancellation and said the local government respects the “business decision” of the company.
“However, I do hope that they can reconsider by opting to operate once a week flights between KL to Davao and do more aggressive marketing in the neighboring regions,” Ms. Tecson said in an interview with BusinessWorld.
Ms. Tecson said the city government remains confident the AirAsia cancellation will not affect the entry of other foreign airlines such as Cathay Pacific, which has previously announced that it is considering direct flights to and from Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong is a different destination,” she said in Filipino, noting that locals are more “aware” of it as a tourism site and that there are more overseas Filipino workers based there.
“Although, of course, both sides will have to market (the route),” the tourism official added.
AirAsia said it is offering clients who already booked tickets with several “recovery options,” including changing the travel date before the suspension, a reroute via Manila or Cebu, convert the ticket value to a credit account, or a full refund.
AirAsia launched the Davao-KL route in December 2017, which AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said was a direct response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s request, which was made when they earlier met in Cambodia.
AirAsia Philippines operates several flights from Davao to domestic destinations such as Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Palawan and Manila. — Maya M. Padillo