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Mactan-Cebu Airport poised to become next transit hub

Airport operator AGMCAC eyes building a mall and hotel at the airport as part of its long-term investment

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram June 20,2024 - 10:49 AM

Mactan-Cebu Airport poised to become next transit hub

MCIA | CDN Digital File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu may become the next transit hub in Southeast Asia as airport operators at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) plans to expand its operations.

The Aboitiz GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (AGMCAC) unveiled on Wednesday, June 19, the Cebu Connect, a project aimed at enhancing the transfer service system in the country’s second busiest airport.

At the same time, executives at Aboitiz InfraCapital, which leads AGMCAC, revealed plans of putting up a mall and hotel as part of their long-term investments for the airport.

READ: Mactan airport records higher passenger traffic for Q1 2024

PH seeks rival offers for Bohol, Laguindingan airport upgrades

With travel and tourism nearing a full recovery from the pandemic, the company decided to revisit their infrastructure investment for the airport which included having a mall, hotel, and possibly expanding vital infrastructure like its terminals and apron.

While not providing any specific numbers, Rafael Aboitiz, vice president and head of airports at Aboitiz InfraCapital, said they are eyeing to invest billions for MCIA in the next five to 15 years.

“A component like a hotel or a mall or maybe other commercial offerings will be part of the holistic plan to expand the airport,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Wednesday’s event.

As of Wednesday, site development for the mall, located right beside the arrivals area of Terminal 2, is ongoing.

“So, when we look at an asset like Cebu, we look at making an investment not just in the airport, but the surrounding infrastructure that supports it,” he added.

Transit hub

Operators of MCIA also planned to make it as a transit hub or an airport that can handle ‘efficient and seamless’ connections for large volumes of passengers.

In doing so, they planned in reducing layover for connecting flights, among others.

Athanasios Titonis, chief executive officer of AGMCAC, said they wanted to cut layover time from 1 hour to 30 minutes or less so that travelers – both for domestic and international flights – can have more freedom to travel to their destination.

“To ease the journey for passengers, we decided to simplify transfers, especially for frequent flyers, families with small children, persons with disabilities, and individuals on medical or business trips where time is crucial,” he added.

According to AGMCAC, Cebu Connect can also help boost tourism in the country by positioning Cebu’s strategic location as “an ideal entry point for both domestic and international tourists.”

MCIA has the capacity to handle 16 million passengers in its two existing terminals.

With new flights to Masbate, and San Vicente in Palawan, it currently links Cebu to 29 domestic and 12 international destinations, including connecting flights to Doha and Dubai.

In the first four months of 2024, MCIA’s passenger traffic grew to 3.67 million, as both both domestic and international passengers continued to grow.

In April alone, one of the busiest months for domestic summer travel, passenger traffic at MCIA registered an 18 percent growth to 926,025 travelers who flew via Cebu during the month. /with reports from Carl Lorenciana, copy editor


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