DAVAO CITY’S business sector has renewed its call on government to fast-track infrastructure projects, especially the rehabilitation of the airport here, as Qatar Airways prepares to launch direct flights to Doha beginning June 18.
The Davao-Doha service, offered twice a week, is one of the commitments obtained by the Philippines in the air service agreement signed with Qatar in 2017.
“That will be our connection to the Middle East,” Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) President Arturo M. Milan told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the Asia CEO Forum on May 3.
Mr. Milan said the chamber is also working on the establishment of direct flights to and from Japan, Manado, and Kota Kinabalu.
Existing direct international flights at the Davao airport are to and from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Jinjiang in China.
Mr. Milan said efforts to push for additional flights will have to be backed up by infrastructure.
“It depends on our capacity to accept (flights) with our terminal,” he said, adding that other infrastructure such as roads and bridges will also have to be in place.
Davao City-headquartered Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. of the Udenna Group has an unsolicited proposal for the Davao International Airport project, which is currently undergoing government evaluation before being subjected to a Swiss challenge.
“Infrastructure plays a very important role in the development of an area. Nobody goes there or nobody wants to be in an area where infrastructure is very poor. All others (development) will just come, but the basic infrastructure has to be put in place,” he said.
He noted that Davao City and Davao Region as a whole are ready for more investment due to the area’s stable power and water supply.
“We have sufficient power and water supply and hopefully the city will really seriously push the high-priority bus (system) and other mass transport systems to address (road congestion) and people mobility as well,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo