Mactan-Cebu International Airport takes off due to PPP deal with GMR

LAPU-LAPU CITY—Some P35 billion have been infused for the modernization of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) here.

The amount shows a stark contrast to the P15.35 billion that President Aquino approved for the Clark International Airport’s (CIA) new terminal to be finished in 2022.

Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, chief executive advisor of GMR Megawide, said MCIA is presently handling 7.1 million passengers annually, but in the fourth year of its modernization, MCIA will be handling 11 million passengers and will have a terminal capacity for 12.5 million.

The CIA is presently handling close to 1 million passengers in its terminal which has a capacity of 4 million and with the completion of the first phase of the new terminal in 2017 will add another 3 million.

Harrison said GMR has taken over the MCIA operation and upgrade after winning the bid and signing a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with the government in November 2014.

The CIA’s new terminal is fully funded by the national government in the General Appropriations Act  in contrast to the MCIA’s PPP.

Harrison said that at present, MCIA is handling 260 flights per day and 12 to 13 movements per hour, which is an improvement after only less than a year of their operations.

Harrison said Hyderabad International Airport, also known as Rajiv Gandhi International Airport was the first airport developed by GMR in India.

Harrison said PPP is an advocacy.

“I’m not saying that everybody should believe in it, but what we want to demonstrate is PPP is a successful route to economic growth and development and you will see that our story is a testimony to that success,” he said.

“Let’s not forget that the airport hub is a business and in this business, 66.67 percent of our income comes from aeronautical, anything to do with aircraft airline passenger charges. Nonaeronautical is retail that’s around 29.99 percent and around 3 1/2 percent comes from innovation, like advertising and other creative ideas,” he added.

“And in order to remember that, we have to focus on the needs of the airlines,” he stressed. Often people mistake an airport customer to be the passengers. It is not, he pointed out.

“Airports’ primary customers are the airlines because without the airlines there are no passengers,” he said. “People will not show up at the airport and say we’re gonna travel to Mactan because the staff there are really nice but they travel because they have a particular airline they fly with,” he explained.

“Concessionaires and businesses, they are important stakeholders in the airport community and they have to feel that they are part of the airport, and of course, passengers,” he said.

All of that translate into an airport product which is user experience,” he added.

“Our view is we must focus on this user experience, and if we focus on that, we will be successful and we will be profitable, but if we focus just on profitability and ignore this user experience we won’t succeed.

“We see ourselves as part of the tourism ecosystem working with local governments, resorts, hotels, tour operators, the Department of Tourism to market Cebu more aggressively,” he said.

“So for example, we are planning a road show in China to visit six cities where we can demonstrate the beauty of the Philippines, how close it is to get to the Philippines and the affordability of the Philippines.”

Harrison said, “We will try to put the Philippines on the map in the way perhaps very different on how it was done so far, but that’s not to undermine the efforts that were put in before.” He said if these efforts will not be made, “the capacity of the airport can never be realized.”




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