Flights from Manado, Indonesia to Davao City are back after a 12 year hiatus. The last time the route was flown was May 2007. Utilizing an ATR 72-600 turboprop, flight GA7401 took off around 10:00am from Sam Ratulangi International Airport (MDC) and landed at Davao City International Airport (DVO) at around 12:00pm. GA7402 took off from DVO at around 12:45pm based on Flightradar24.
Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee as one of the passengers on the inaugural flight. Garudo flies from Manado to Davao and back twice a week, Mondays and Fridays.
In a report from Mindanews, Garuda President Ari Askhara said, "the air route aims to provide seamless connectivity for customers and 'could also help support development cooperation in economics, Investment, trade and tourism' between Davao and Manado."
Manado is located in North Sulawesi and the reopening of flights between Manado and Davao will link Mindanao to its neighbors who are part of the East Asean Growth Area (EAGA) comprising Brunei Darussalam, East Indonesia, East Malaysia, Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines.
Mindanao Development Authority Deputy Executive Director Romeo Montenegro told MindaNews, "Bouraq Airlines terminated its services in December 2004 since the company suffered financial and operational constraints while Merpati Airlines folded up its operation in December 2006 due to low load factor. Sriwijaya Airlines followed and mounted regular air services in the Davao-Manado air route in November 2006 but folded its operation in May 2007,” speaking about Indonesian carriers who used to service the route.
During the Balay Filipino in Jakarta last Sunday night, Ambassador Wee said that he was optimistic about the revival of the MDC-DVO route, saying it would boost trade, tourism, and investments.