MCIA runway closure to affect 800 flights Air passengers advised to adjust flight plans
Air travelers in and out of Cebu are advised to check with their respective airlines for possible changes or cancellations of their flights when the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) will start the daily five-hour closure of the runway on Saturday
In an advisory, the MCIAA said that the runway closure will start from 1:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. every day from September 1 until September 21.
“This closure is made for the implementation of the needed runway overlay works to repair the runway’s deteriorating state,” the advisory read.
“Passengers with domestic and international flights scheduled during those dates and around those times are advised to check with their airlines for any possible adjustments to or cancellation of their flights,” it further read.
At the same time, the MCIAA is requesting passengers to arrive and check in at the airport earlier during the days of the scheduled closures since it is expected that there will be congestion in the terminal.
According to MCIAA Public Information Officer Mary Ann Dimabayao, they were still waiting for the specific list of affected flights from the different domestic and international airlines arriving and departing at the MCIA during the runway closure period.
“I still don’t have the final list but I can tell you that there are around 800 flights affected for the entire 21 days of runway closure. These are either retimed or rescheduled or cancelled,” she told Cebu Daily News.
The P240-million asphalt overlay project of the airport runway, which last underwent rehabilitation in 2006, will be around 3,000 meters long and 30 meters wide.
“It’s a long overdue overlay of the entire runway. We want to do the runway overlay in the least amount of time and with the least convenience to the passengers and the airlines,” added MCIAA General Manager Steve Dicdican.
Around 60 equipment from four contractors dividing the work will undertake the repair.
An ocular inspection of the runway early on Thursday revealed potholes that were temporarily fixed and some uneven and rough surfaces of the runway.
He said they decided to do the repair in September, as it is usually the off-peak period for most airlines.
GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), the private operator of MCIA, said they were working closely with MCIAA and allied agencies like the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to ensure that the runway rehabilitation is completed within the allotted period.
In a separate advisory, GMCAC said that the current schedule was agreed upon by different stakeholders, including reducing the runway closure from the original eight hours to five hours, as it is the least desruptive to airline operations.
“These closures have further emphasized the urgency of having a full parallel emergency runway that can operate while the main runway is shut down for maintenance or emergencies,” GMCAC said in its advisory.
“When the plans are finalized, this innovative infrastructure solution will soon be part of the MCIA to provide the flying public with the seamless first-world service it deserves,” it added.
GMCAC has earlier submitted an unsolicited proposal for the construction of a second runway for the MCIA, which is still undergoing review in different government agencies.
The Philippine Airlines (PAL) has meanwhile issued an advisory cancelling a number of flights during the 1:30 a.m.-6:30 a.m. repair hours.
These were the Cebu-Busuanga-Cebu (PR 2682/2683), Cebu- Cagayan de Oro-Cebu (PR 2295/2296), and Cebu-Manila (PR 1836) flights during the hours of the repair period on Sept. 1 to 21; and the Manila-Cebu (PR 2867) flights from Aug. 31 to Sept. 20.
The Cebu-Iloilo-Cebu, Cebu-Bacolod-Cebu, and Cebu-Tacloban-Cebu flights on Sept. 1 to 21 have been re-timed. The Manila-Cebu (PR 1841) flight at 4 a.m. was also re-timed.
“Passengers of cancelled flights have been reprotected on next available flights and have been notified via email and/or call-out,” the advisory read.
For passengers of re-timed flights, they have been informed of their revised flight schedules also via email and/or call-out.
PAL will waive service fees for rebooking, rerouting, and refund within 30 days from the original flight date for affected passengers.
There are still no advisories of affected flights on the Facebook Pages Philippines AirAsia and Cebu Pacific Air./with NORMAN V. MENDOZA
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