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AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes announces the low-cost airlines' direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Davao, Philippines, during the 4th Davao Investment Conference 2017 in Davao. Pic by AYISY YUSOF.

DAVAO: Low-cost airline, AirAsia Bhd (AirAsia) has introduced its latest route to Davao, Philippines from Kuala Lumpur, with four times weekly direct flights, which will commence on Dec 21.

Available with celebratory fares from RM99 (one-way), the new route marks the airlines' fourth direct route from Malaysia to the Philippines after Manila, Cebu and Kalibo, with a total of 577,536 passengers flown from 2015 until 2016.

AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said Davao has the potential to be the international gateway for Asean to the southern Philippines, beginning with the new route.

"We strongly support the development of cities outside Metro Manila. We are confident that by increasing connectivity and accessibility to affordable air travel, AirAsia can help play a role in boosting economic growth in the south," he said after announcing the airlines' latest route in conjunction with the Fourth Davao Investment Conference 2017 in Davao, today.

The conference is focused on spurring investments in the job generating sectors of manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.

Fernandes added that Davao was one of the first cities the airlines flew to when its Philippines operations began in 2012.

"In fact, Clark-Davao, which we pioneered, was one of the two maiden routes when we started AirAsia Philippines five years ago. Since then, we have worked to strengthen our network in Davao," he said.

He reiterated this year the airlines has launched new flights from Davao to Cebu, Palawan and Boracay, and enabled fly-thru via Cebu to international destinations such as Singapore, Taipei and Seoul.

AirAsia holds 40 per cent stake in AirAsia Philippines Inc, while remaining 60 per cent ownership stake is shared between Filipinos investors.

AirAsia Philippines offer nine destinations within the country including Clark, Manila, Caticlan, Kalibo (Boracay), Tacloban, Palawan (Puerto Princesa), Cebu, Tagbilaran and Davao.

Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor, Sara Duterte-Carpio said the city is a major point of growth in the international market, especially with agriculture being its largest industry.

"Our aim for the city is also to grow it to become a hub for financial, tourism, service and education in Mindanao," she said.

Sara added the introduction of the direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Davao could not be more timely.

"It is a key step in this direction to empower local players across various economic activities," she said.

The vibrant city of Davao offers travellers a mix of natural surroundings, pristine islands and beaches, unique city attractions, exciting festivals and delectable delights.

The one-way destination is available for booking from July 21 until July 30, 2017 for the travel period from December 21, 2017 to August 28, 2018.

AirAsia also connects guests to other cities in the Philippines including Clark, Manila, Caticlan, Kalibo, Tacloban, Palawan, Cebu and Tagbilaran.

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