DAVAO CITY — Local business leaders are now pushing for triangular flights with Manila or Cebu to establish faster connectivity between Davao and Japan.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.-Davao Regional Governor Arturo M. Milan said while they are still lobbying for a direct flight from Davao to Japan, they have asked Philippine Airlines (PAL) to consider a possibly more viable option.

He cited the success of Silk Air, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, which serves the Singapore-Davao-Cebu route.

“That is the way Silk Air developed the market,” Mr. Milan told the media during Monday’s Kapihan sa Dabaw forum.

Mr. Milan, who was last year’s Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) president, said they are hopeful that talks with PAL will have a positive outcome within the first quarter this year.

“We are negotiating… PAL is now open to service triangular flights,” he said.

DCCCII has been asking PAL to serve direct flights between the city and Japan to strengthen trade links and boost tourism.

The group has also asked Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) to consider the route during a business mission to Tokyo, Hitachinaka, and Saitama last year.

ANA HD, the airline’s parent firm, has a 9.5% stake in the outstanding shares of PAL Holdings, the parent of Philippine Airlines. PAL and ANA also have a number of code share flights.

“So it can be either ANA flying if they consider, or they may encourage PAL to fly directly,” Mr. Milan said.

The Department of Tourism-Davao Region office has also been working on establishing flights between Davao City and Taiwan.

Aside from Singapore, existing international flights to and from Davao include Hong Kong, Manado, Qatar, and Quanzhou in China. — Maya M. Padillo