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Underground train included in MCIA second runway project

| by: Kelvin Cañizares

The Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will become the first to have an underground railway system in the country once the unsolicited 50-year master plan proposed by a private company meets the approval of the government.

Andrew Acquaah Harrison, chief executive advisor of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMAC), said the subway would serve as passageway for transportation that ferries passengers from one terminal to another.

Harrison met with Governor Hilario P. Davide III on Tuesday to discuss GMAC’s P209-billion plan for additional development in MCIA and the firm’s offer for a 50-year contract extension.

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GMAC won the contract in 2014 in a 25-year concession deal to operate the MCIA passenger terminal.

GMAC’s plan includes the construction of a second runway, third terminal and the management of airside facilities operation.

“I’m looking forward for the realization of this project. I believe this will spur economic growth for Cebu,” Davide said expressing his support for the second runway in MCIA.

Harrison said the MCIA long-term development plan would ensure that congestion experienced by passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila would not happen in Cebu.

On a positive note, Davide advised GMAC to present their offer to other stakeholders including business groups, heads of local government units, and non-government organizations such as the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB).

Second runway

Based on the consortium’s study, the infrastructure improvements will increase MCIA’s capacity to handle passenger’s traffic up to P50 million a year. According to Harrison, increasing MCIA’s capacity would make Cebu a viable gateway for foreign tourists coming to and from the Philippines.

“Located geographically at the center of the Philippines, Cebu could easily feed the needs of foreign tourists going to its neighboring provinces as well as Mindanao,” Harrison said.

With the new runway, Harrison said, international airline companies in Manila would be attracted to open direct flights from Cebu to the US, Europe and elsewhere.

“Because of space constraints, the NAIA can no longer make expansion projects. Airline companies will soon be looking for other options,” the chief executive advisor said.

Many foreign tourists who used NAIA as their entry point are usually heading to Visayas and Mindanao, Harrison said adding that these airline companies are just looking for the right infrastructure.

“This project will help Cebu diversify, catering tourists from different countries. We also wanted this to become another successful project under public-private partnership,” said Harrison.

In 1991, MCIA became an international airport whose structural design can accommodate P4.5 million passengers annually.

GMAC executive said that in its current projection, MCIA will be catering up to P10.5 million passengers this year.

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) Board recently approved the resolution for the construction of a second runway.

If approved by the national government, the project will be done in three phases and will commence next year. It will become operational by 2030.

Airport facilities will undergo rehabilitation from 2018 to 2021. The reclamation and construction of the second runway is set between 2022 and 2030, while the construction of a third terminal will be done from 2036 to 2039.

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