Sunday, April 1, 2012

Davao and Kalibo skies turn red with AirAsia Philippines

AirAsia - Maiden Flight to Davao
Touchdown at the Davao International Airport
The familiar hue of red streaked the skies above Kalibo and Davao (the second plane with us onboard) on the same day the past week, marking a special occasion -- AirAsia Philippines finally take the skies on domestic routes (and hopefully, international ones soon), giving passengers mostly from Central and Northern Luzon more choices.  Admittedly, the all-in fares are a good move in the right direction.  I, for one, am continuously frustrated by very attractive come-ons of low fares from other carriers that do not culminate in successful transactions.  Either the flights are all-filled and/or the low fares get bloated by a thousand or so pesos by the time the surcharges and other fees are factored in.
AirAsia Tony Fernandes Smile
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes have plenty to smile about
As we're flying very early for Davao last Wednesday, we were given the privilege to try out and go overnight at Tune Hotel in Angeles (watch out for my review soon).   At the press event, we were able to listen to AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer, Tony Fernandes, reminisce about his friendship with the core group that formed AirAsia Philippines with endearing humor.  Alas, I missed an opportunity to interview him in person due to his hectic schedule and the fact that he wasn't able to join the flight to Davao because of commitments in Manila.  In lieu of the Philippine President, Dept. of Transportation and Communications Secretary, Mar Roxas, was there.  Given a bit more time, it would've been interesting to ask the kind and eloquent secretary to give a more detailed peek into what the administration is planning for the transport from Manila to Clark in the interim between the planning and completion of the express railway to Clark.
Davao - Clouds Suspended Over the Greens
Sunny Davao contrasts with overcast, rainy Clark and Manila
Anyway, the choices of Kalibo and Davao make sense, Kalibo being the gateway to ever-popular Boracay and Davao, as a gateway to Mindanao, being a great destination for the food-tripping/adventure-seeking tourist.   Very soon, AirAsia Philippines will add Puerto Princesa to its local routes, again another good decision that will go a long way toward servicing the burgeoning tourist arrivals eager to see the Underground River.   The last two times I've been to Puerto Princesa, the airport seems to be bursting at the seams with passengers.  I, for one am looking forward to the airline servicing international routes. Looks like we'll be marking more dates on our calendar as red-letter days for AirAsia Philippines and it's about time.


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