Air Asia is suspending its Davao to Kuala Lumpur service, blaming a lack of Muslim-friendly Halal eateries in the southern city.
The four times weekly direct service, which was launched last December, will come to an end on August 21.
Davao City tourism officer Generose Tecson, speaking at the Davao Business Forum yesterday (Tuesday, Juny 26), said the lack of Halal-friendly establishments in the city was one of the reasons why the service was being cancelled.
Tecson said her office recorded fewer than 20 Muslim-friendly establishments in the city. Of these, only one was officially Halal-certified.
“I think we can attribute this with the cancellation of Davao-Kuala Lumpur flight,” she said. “Perhaps the passengers from Malaysia searched for possible Halal establishments and restaurants here in the city and did not find a lot.”
However, in defence of the city’s business establishments, she conceded that applying for Halal certification in the Philippines was “challenging”.
“We also have to look at the market. We have to look at that way also. How many Muslims are coming? Because AirAsia might have also been looking for additional cargo load as well,” she added.
Air Asia has pledged that all affected passengers will be notified directly via email and text message.
“We encourage all guests to update their contact details with current email addresses and mobile numbers with their country code prefix at airasia.com to ensure that the airline can reach them at all times,” the airline’s statement explained.
Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated president Art Milan said the suspension of the service saddened the business and tourism community in the city.
“The route is just not able to generate enough passengers and cargoes to make it viable that’s why they have to stop. However, we will continue to explore other viable international destinations for the Davao International Airport,” he said.