As the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) continues to pile on more overseas flights, management has taken on an even more active role when it comes to beefing up its flight resume and the corresponding security precautions in order to better serve the riding public and ensure continuous growth and expansion for the airport.
For one, the airport body has gone on overdrive in its bid to attract more flights and airlines to its midst with the historic creation of three overseas flights to three separate destinations in just four days last March.
“These new routes to Taipei, Xiamen, and Dubai were all a successful by-product of Routes Asia Strategy Summit. Held last Mar. 6 to 8 in Manila, this involved a series of timed meetings conducted between airlines, airports, and tourism authorities where each entity tries to establish linkages with another before the slots are filled,” related Nigel Paul Villarete, general manager of the MCIA Authority.
He further explained that airlines can ask for meetings anytime with the airports and the airports have to outdo each other in order to fill in their slots with new schedules. Asked how many airlines the MCIA talked to, he mentioned 24 to 30.
This is likened to a speed dating process where males spend a few minutes interacting with a female prospect before transferring to a new one in a controlled environment. Take note that the usual process can take as long as two years to bear fruit.
Villarete said that their main strength was the Public-Private Partnerships status which spurred interest from the airlines, plus the delivery on the issues of infrastructure and amenities.
“While we concentrated on the short-haul flights, majority of which were to China, India, the Asean region, and Australia, the GMR Megawide (the airport management body) opted for the long-haul targets such as the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. The GMR group brought in tons of experience by way of their management of four global airports,” he added.
To add reinforcement for the new flights, the existing airport infrastructure and surroundings will be further upgraded. Foremost here is the existing runway will be totally repaired within the year while a new and more sophisticated runway and taxiway will be added in anticipation of more flights to come in the near future.
The six-hectare security fence will also be replaced and strengthened with security cameras
as an additional safety measure.
Villarete added that the Holy Week heightened their alert status due to the expected flood of tourists seeking vacations in Cebu and the nearby islands. This was further raised with the bombing incidents at Brussels and Pakistan.
The end of March 2016 witnesses Cebu’s accessibility to 12 global destinations. These are Busan, Dubai, Hong Kong, Incheon, Osaka, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Nagoya, Narita, Singapore, Taipei, and Xiamen.
By RICHARD RAMOS