Expansion, new terminal seen to ease capacity woes
The completion of the terminal expansion of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) this year and the start of a new passenger terminal next year will help address the overcapacity problems of congestion.
Nigel Paul C. Villarete, MCIA general manager, said with the terminal expansion would accommodate one million people a year while the new terminal when completed could add another 3.8-million capacity for the airport.
Villarete said on Monday that they were addressing the problem.
“We all know that the airport is already running on overcapacity at six million (passenger arrivals) a year now and we are only good for 4.5-million traffic. That’s about over 33 percent,” said Villarete.
Villarete, however, assured that despite the over capacity problems, MCIA personnel still managed to run the facility efficiently.
Villarete is expecting the ongoing airport terminal expansion to be completed within the first half of the year.
He said this would add at a least a capacity of one million people to the facility and would make the passenger traffic flow in the airport smoother than it is now.
“We’re doing fairly well but it’s a real challenge. We’re completing the expansions but this is still in the gates and not including yet the check-in counters, which we still need to really have a smoother flow in the airport,” he said.
Villarete also said that they already submitted the feasibility study of the new terminal for processing to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).
Villarete said he was expecting the P5-billion new terminal project to start next year.
“That new terminal can give us additional 3.8-million capacity that should be good for another 10 years at a growth rate of 8 to 10 percent every year,” said Villarete, referring to the passenger traffic and the capacity of the airport.
At present however, the traffic growth rate in MCIA is at 12 percent to 15 percent annually, which means that the new terminal can only be good for less than 10 years.
“Knowing that, we should really monitor and plan in advance so that we can have a quick response in order to ensure that the processes in the airport remains efficient,” said Villarete.
Recently the MCIA passed the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) audit, making the airport the first and still the only one with an Aerodrome Certification in the country.
“This simply means that we have complied with all the safety regulations that are required by CAAP. All airports should be Aerodrome certified and with MCIA getting that, the more we’d become attractive to airline companies for more or new flights,” said Villarete.
With the issuance, Villarete said that it’s only reasonable to expect the traffic in MCIA to increase at a higher rate, thus there is a real need for expansions.
Aside from the expansions, Villarete also submitted a request to the DOTC to open a franchise line for express line buses to make it more convenient for travelers to come and leave the airport.
“We’ve sent the request in July last year and I’m happy that LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) regional director Ahmed Cuizon also endorsed it. We’re still waiting. Hopefully we’ll get a positive response soon,” said Villarete.
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