AirAsia Expands Cargo Operations in Tawi-Tawi

May 26, 2022
Low-cost airline AirAsia Philippines said it is holding talks with Tawi-Tawi officials for the opening of a new route as it continues to expand operations in the southern Philippines.

May 24—ZAMBOANGA CITY — Low-cost airline AirAsia Philippines said Monday it is holding talks with Tawi-Tawi officials for the opening of a new route as it continues to expand operations in the southern Philippines.

"Tawi-Tawi is a beautiful province and the people of Tawi-Tawi are asking us to open a route," Capt. Steve Dailisan, spokesman for AirAsia said, adding the Tawi-Tawi-Zamboanga-Manila route will further boost the economy not only of the province but also in Zamboanga City.

Aside from Tawi-Tawi, Dailisan said they are also looking into the province of Sulu and even Sandakan in Malaysia.

Dailisan and his team — Carlo Carongoy, assistant manager for external communications and public affairs; Tricia Terada, manager for communications and public relations; and Kevin Samonte, of the corporate social responsibility, were in Zamboanga ahead of the launch of its cargo operations and the increase of its flight frequency to the city. He said AirAsia Philippines is determined to aid in the economic recovery of Zamboanga City with the upcoming launch.

He said AirAsia will commence its expanded daily cargo operations here starting next month following the installation of new x-ray machines and the availability of a bigger warehouse.

"These expansion initiatives will allow AirAsia to fly more than 200 tons of both passengers and commercial cargo per month — an auspicious development for partner enterprises set to increase their shipments between Zamboanga and Manila," Dailisan said.

Most of the cargoes from Zamboanga are marine products exports and mangosteen from Sulu, which is used to manufacture health supplements.

Dailisan said AirAsia Philippines, having successful flight operations in the past year and a half here, is also augmenting its flight frequency to Zamboanga, which will be scheduled daily starting in June, to stimulate tourism and the economy in the region.

The airline initially flew twice a week when it launched the route in October 2020, but the operation was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourist arrivals in Zamboanga City dropped by 81.68 percent due to the health crisis. From 125,614 arrivals in the first quarter of 2020, the number of visitors slipped to 23,010 in the same period in 2021.

Dailisan said Zamboanga, known as the flagship tourism destination of Western Mindanao, is the gateway to other tourist destinations in the region. " Zamboanga City is the gateway to the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, making it a critical and strategic hub for any transport business."

"We hope that with the increased flight frequency and expanded cargo operations, we can continue to aid in the growth of the city's tourism and trade industries. We are confident that Zamboanga, through the Zamboanga City International Airport, is poised to be a key economic driver for the region as the country gears for post-pandemic recovery," he said.

He also cited a survey commissioned by AirAsia Philippines last December which revealed that 29 percent of general travelers would like to spend time and explore Zamboanga and 31 percent of those coming from the Visayas will also visit the city.


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