Megawide group proposes P208-billion Cebu airport expansion

MANILA, Philippines – Megawide Construction Corporation and its Bangalore-based partner GMR Infrastructure Limited submitted a P208-billion, 50-year unsolicited proposal for a more comprehensive expansion of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which includes building a 2nd parallel runway.

In a statement on Sunday, June 11, the listed construction firm disclosed that its airport group GMR-Megawide Consortium last Wednesday, June 7, submitted an unsolicited proposal that would make the Cebu airport the only Philippine airport with two independent parallel runways, seen to serve annual passenger capacities of up to 50 million through airside facilities and 3 passenger terminals.

"Passenger traffic has shown incredible growth in the last 2 or 3 years. While this is good news for the country, especially for Cebu, we want to ensure that the airport can ably cope with this continued progress," GMR-Megawide director Louie Ferrer said in the statement.

The consortium won the public-private partnership (PPP) concession deal to operate the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in December 2013.

However, the PPP contract does not include the improvement, operations, and maintenance of the runway and other related facilities, which remains with the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).

Aside from a 2nd runway, the GMR-Megawide group intends to rehabilitate the airport's existing runway and taxiways, build a 3rd terminal, add a full-length parallel taxiway, as well as construct more rapid exit taxiways and runway holding positions.

Calls for more airport land

The consortium said the 50-year project calls for expansion of airport land in order to accommodate the new facilities. (READ: 4 PH airports in Asia's best airports list)

GMR-Megawide said it will be looking into options that will minimize the impact on surrounding communities, such as possible reclamation in Magellan Bay.

"We took into account the number of residents that may be affected by the airport expansion. We will be adopting an approach that prevents any adverse effect on their daily lives," Ferrer said. 

The runway capacity of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport has long been a concern among airport stakeholders.

"They really understand the requirements of the airport and the importance of planning ahead. The proposal for a 2nd runway is a fulfillment of their vision for Mactan-Cebu International Airport," Ferrer said.

Asked about the reception of government authorities to the unsolicited proposal, Ferrer expressed optimism.

"We submitted a highly detailed proposal tailored specifically to the needs of [the Mactan-Cebu International Airport] and we are looking forward to their response," he said.

"As a matter of fact, [the government] recently passed a resolution pushing for the implementation of a 2nd runway. Our proposal therefore dovetails perfectly with the directives of this administration," Ferrer added.

GMR-Megawide assumed operations of the Cebu airport in November 2014.

Since then, the Cebu airport has won several international awards like the Best Regional Airport in Southeast Asia from the CAPA Center for Aviation (2016) and Best Transport Deal from the Asset AAA Infrastructure Awards held in Hong Kong (2015).

Last year, Mactan-Cebu International was also named 14th Best Airport in Asia by the website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports.   

The consortium is currently undertaking the construction of Terminal 2, slated for completion in June 2018, which will increase the airport's overall passenger capacity to 12.5 million passengers per year from 4.5 million. – Rappler.com