On December 18th, China's Xiamen Airlines officially launched its Davao to Quanzhou direct flight, marking the opening of Davao's first direct flight route to Mainland China. The new flight service is set to provide a bridge in the air for the economic and trade exchanges between Davao and Jinjiang of Quanzhou as sister cities.
Davao has thus become the fourth Philippine city where Xiamen Airlines operates direct flights, after Manila, Cebu and Kalibo. As the airline company enjoying the largest share of the commercial flight market between China and the Philippines, Xiamen Airlines has been facilitating the exchanges between the two nations through its flight network for 32 years in a row.
Davao's First Direct Flight Route to Mainland China
Quanzhou, one of the three central cities in China's Fujian Province, holds the distinction of being the only UNESCO-accredited starting point of the Maritime Silk Road. A large number of ethnic Chinese in the Philippines trace their ancestry to Quanzhou as well. Davao, the third largest Philippine city, is one of the leading cities in the country in terms of interaction with China.
In October, the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Davao officially opened. At the inauguration ceremony, China's foreign minister Wang Yi specifically introduced Xiamen Airlines' Davao-Quanzhou flight route, stating that it "is set to inject fresh vitality into the development of Davao and the southern part of the Philippines." In November, Davao and Jinjiang of Quanzhou were paired up as sister cities, creating a solid platform for both cities to deepen goodwill cooperation and exchange on all fronts.
The Davao-Quanzhou flight route is serviced with Boeing 737s. The flight departs from Quanzhou Jinjiang International Airport at 09:00 every Tuesday and Friday, arriving in Davao at 12:15. The return flight leaves Davao International Airport at 13:15, arriving in Quanzhou at 16:30. It is currently the only direct flight between Davao and Mainland China.
The opening of the flight route not only provides ethnic Chinese in the Philippines with a fast and convenient "through bus in the air;" it also significantly facilitates business travels between China's Fujian Province and Davao, and is expected to boost economic, trade, cultural and tourist exchanges between the two regions.
The Airline with the Largest Share of the China-Philippine Commercial Flight Market
In recent years, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on six different occasions, and the cooperation between the two nations in tourism, culture and education has produced fruitful results. On November 20th, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his first visit to the Philippines, opening a new chapter in the relations between the two nations.
At present, China is the largest trading partner, destination of exports and source of imports for the Philippines and second largest source of tourists for the Philippines. Private-sector investment between the two nations has surged and cultural exchanges have sharply increased; in addition, more and more Philippine fruits are finding their ways to the dining tables of Chinese people, and more and more Philippine attractions are included into the itineraries of Chinese tourists.
Xiamen Airlines opened direct flights between Manila and Xiamen as early as November 1st, 1986, making it one of the first Chinese carriers to offer direct flights between China and the Philippines. In recent years, Xiamen Airlines has devoted a greater part of its transportation capacity to the Philippines, providing vital air transportation support for the exchanges between the two nations on various fronts.
Before the opening of the Davao-Quanzhou flight route, Xiamen Airlines' flight network covered three Philippine cities – Manila, Cebu and Kalibo, with six flight routes – Manila-Xiamen/Quanzhou, Cebu-Xiamen/Fuzhou, and Kalibo-Hangzhou/Fuzhou. These flights routes connected to all major cities across China. There were 34 flights a week on these routes, with an accumulative total of 7,690 flights and nearly 1 million passengers, giving Xiamen Airlines the largest share of the commercial flight market between the two nations.
Going forward, Xiamen Airlines will devote greater resources to flights between the two countries to create a flight network that offers regular services between major Philippine cities and China's Fujian, Beijing and Hangzhou, which are the bases of Xiamen Airlines. This is expected to further facilitate the economic and trade exchanges between the nations.
The Chinese Airline with the Best Service
With 34 years of robust growth, Xiamen Airlines, a member of SkyTeam, now ranks as China's fifth largest carrier, boasting a fleet of 210 aircrafts. As the only Chinese carrier with a 31-year track record of profitability, Xiamen Airlines is hailed as the "epitome of the development of China's civil aviation industry."
Ever since its inception, Xiamen Airlines has been making unremitting efforts to ensure flight safety and enhance service quality. For six consecutive years from 2012 to 2018, Xiamen Airlines was rated by Chinese passengers as the "Best Airline Company" in air service. In March 2016, it received the second China Quality Award, becoming the first company in the nation's service sector and the only Chinese airline to win this prestigious accolade.
While pursuing growth, Xiamen Airlines remains committed to charitable causes and diligently fulfills its corporate social responsibility by carrying out poverty relief programs, offering financial assistance to needy students, providing voluntary services and promoting energy conservation and emission reduction to protect the environment. On February 15th, 2017, Xiamen Airlines entered into an agreement with the UN at its headquarters in New York, becoming the first airline in the world to collaborate with the UN in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Since 2015, Xiamen Airlines has opened 11 intercontinental flight routes to Amsterdam, Sydney, Melbourne, Vancouver, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles and Paris. Its flight network now covers Europe, North America and Oceania.
Going forward, Xiamen Airlines will continue fulfilling its mission of "touching the hearts of its customers, facilitating the professional success of its employees, and giving back to society." It is committed to delivering the ultimate flight experience to passengers.