Tigerair Returns to Davao, Plans to Establish Hub

Tigerair Philippines has returned to Davao better than ever with an ambitious plan that will not only see the re-establishment of direct Tigerair flights to Manila but also the launch of a new hub. The airline recently reinstated direct flights from Manila to Davao after a five-month suspension.

tigerair manila to davao
Copyright Photo: Philip Co/PPSG
"We have responded to our passengers' demand," said Tigerair Vice-President Joey Laurente. "Tigerair is here to give you only the best service possible. To keep up the demand for Davao as a tourist destination and as an IT hub, we offer daily flights to Davao using the 144-seater Airbus 319 aircraft."

Tigerair Philippines reinstated the Manila-Davao route on December 2. The airline previously cited weak performance relative to other routes in the carrier's network as the primary reason for suspending the route back in June. However, the airline is now considering the possibility of making the Francisco Bangoy International Airport a new hub for international flights. In addition to the restoration of daily service to Manila, the carrier also plans to operate a three times weekly service between Clark and Davao beginning on December 17. 

"Earlier in June, we stopped operations in Davao but now, we are back and today, we want to stay. We have also added the Clark-Davao route too, to bring in more passengers here. We want to make our Manila-Davao and Clark-Davao routes successful first," said Laurente. "If we see potential in Davao as a hub, then we will expand to international flights. As much as possible, we are trying to bypass Manila for our international flights like Davao-Singapore-Davao in the future." He added that the airline wants to flourish on both domestic and international routes. However, in order to do so, there is a need for cooperation between tourism stakeholders in the Davao region. 

According to Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato, the establishment of Davao as a hub airport for international flights could help to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. "If we become a hub, we don't need to fly to Manila or Cebu anymore to go to other destinations," said Boncato. "Hopefully, in the next three years, we can also see other airlines using Davao as their hub."

Boncato added that there are opportunities within the region for Davao to be used as an international hub where airlines can take advantage of discounts as high as fifty percent off landing, take off and regulatory fees if the airlines operate routes within the BIMP-Eaga sub-region. 

Meanwhile, Tigerair continues to establish its hubs at NAIA Terminal 4 and Clark International Airport. The airline is currently developing a lounge at Terminal 4 for their passengers and seeking collaboration with Emirates and Qatar Airways to connect inbound passengers from the Middle East onto Tigerair flights to Davao out of Clark International Airport. 

Boncato believes that the connection to Clark International Airport is very strategic as it will open the doors for Davao to tourists from the Northern Philippines. "Davao City and also the region will have an increase in arrivals through this route," said Boncato.

The return of Tigerair to Davao is a living testament of the progressiveness and diversity in Davao as one of the major tourism destinations of Mindanao. The city is presently being marketed as a destination "where business ends with pleasure." Laurente says that Tigerair wants to be part of that especially for business travellers who can maximize their stay and relax in Davao.

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