Plans Being Finalised for Mactan-Cebu Airport Takeover

The GMR-Megawide Airport company is finalising its plans for the takeover of terminal operations at Mactan Cebu International Airport at the end of October. The consortium has promised that passengers will see a visible improvement within six months. 

cebu airport
Copyright Photo: D.Wilson/PPSG
A transition team from the company recently inspected the terminal and identified a number of areas for improvement upon takeover. The plan is to initially focus on improving the user experience including the renovation of restrooms, improvement of seating, and reducing queues. The consortium intends to minimise any disruption to travellers while improvements and changes are made. 

According to Chief Executive Adviser Andrew Harrison, the company will finalise the redevelopment plan for the airport and consult with immigration, customs, security, and other stakeholders prior to the takeover. "There are documents that have to be submitted and manuals to be written," said Harrison. "We need to start procurement of materials, organize ourselves, recruit staff, launch the brand. At the same time, we need to train and prepare people so that the terminal can run smoothly from day one."

The company is sixty percent owned by Filipino construction company, Megawide Construction Corporation, while the other forty percent is held by India based GMR Infrastructure Limited. Earlier this year, the consortium won the P17.52 billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport rehabilitation and upgrading project under the government's public-private partnership scheme. 

According to Harrison, the preliminary design stage is due for completion within the next sixty days, at which time the detailed design process will commence. "We have developed much larger airports and terminals," said Harrison. "We know what needs to be done and in what order."

The company is planning to enlist Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue for the interiors. The Cebu designer was also contracted to design the interiors for the refurbished NAIA Terminal 1 currently undergoing renovation.

Meanwhile, more than one hundred employees of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority have been offered employment by the new company. "We've met with the employees and we're very hopeful that many of them will join the organization," said Harrison. He added that the company also needs to collaborate with local government to ensure that road capacity will be able to meet the growing demands of the airport as it expands. "For an airport to be efficient, it has to be efficient from an air traffic standpoint, terminal capacity standpoint, and in terms of surface access," Harrison said. 

The GMR-Megawide consortium is planning to transform Cebu into an international hub that will not only promote the island for tourism, but also boost local business and draw investors to the city. The scope of the project includes the rehabilitation of the existing passenger terminal and the construction of a new international passenger terminal to bring the airport's total annual capacity up to 28 million passengers. 

The existing Mactan-Cebu International Airport terminal was designed to serve 4.5 million passengers but is presently serving 7.1 million. 

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