THE Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) has handled a record 9.5 million passengers in the first nine months of 2019, up 12 percent from the same period in 2018.
From January to September this year, the country’s second busiest air hub saw its domestic and international passenger traffic reaching 6.3 million and 3.2 million, respectively.
Louie Ferrer, president of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), said the past five years were marked with “strong growth” in connectivity and passenger traffic.
GMCAC chief executive advisor Andrew Acquuah-Harrison said the private operator continues to work to connect Cebu to more destinations in the future aside from key cities in Southeast Asia and China.
“We’re making Cebu more accessible to the world,” said Harrison at the first GMCAC Partner Awards Monday night, Nov. 4, 2019, at Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark.
The company recognized its partners, like airlines, airport service providers, government agencies and media, among others, for their valuable contributions to MCIA’s growth in the last five years.
Harrison said MCIA is now connected to 23 international destinations from only seven in 2014, when GMCAC—the joint venture firm between infrastructure giant Megawide Construction and India’s Infrastructure Ltd.— took over the development of MCIA.
The airport’s domestic connectivity also increased to 28 destinations from 24 five years ago.
MCIA now has 26 partner carriers—nine Filipino airlines and 17 foreign carriers—from just 11 in 2014.
In 2018, MCIA’s passenger volume hit 11.5 million compared to just 6.9 million in 2014.
GMCAC is targeting to hit its 13 million passenger target this year.
During the nine-month period, air traffic movement at MCIA also grew seven percent year-on-year to 80,275 flights this year from 75,093 flights last year.
GMCAC is eyeing to eventually connect Cebu to underserved markets such as Australia, North America, Europe, India and other Southeast Asian countries.
Korea, China and Japan continue to be strong markets for Cebu.
GMCAC projected MCIA’s passenger capacity to increase to 16 million per year once the renovation of Terminal 1 is completed this year.
The Filipino-Indian consortium plans to get a concession to build a third terminal projected to start by 2035, as part of its long-term development plan for the airport.
In June 2017, GMR-Megawide submitted a P208 billion unsolicited proposal to the government to further develop MCIA.
The airport’s long-term target is to increase its capacity to at least 50 million passengers per year.