GMR-Megawide Outlines Initial Plans for Cebu Airport Takeover

Image Source: Cebu Daily News
Image Source: Cebu Daily News

MACTAN, CEBU — GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. said it will initially focus on improving the user experience when it takes over terminal operations and management at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) at the end of October, and promised a marked improvement within six months.

In a briefing conducted after the company’s transition team inspected the terminal, the company said its immediate activities upon takeover will include renovating restrooms, reducing queues, and improving seating, with GMR-Megawide endeavoring to mitigate the inconvenience caused by the changes.

Chief Executive Adviser Andrew Acquaah Harrison said prior to the takeover, the company will be engaged in finalizing the airport’s redevelopment plan and consulting with customs, immigration, security personnel and other stakeholders.

“There are documents that have to be submitted and manuals to be written. We need to start procurement of materials, organize ourselves, recruit staff, launch the brand. At the same time, we need to train and prepare people so that the terminal can run smoothly from day one,” Mr. Harrison said.

The company, 60% owned by listed Filipino construction company Megawide Construction Corp. and 40% by Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd., was formed after the consortium won the P17.52-billion MCIA rehabilitation and upgrading project under the public-private partnership scheme.

The consortium offered a winning bid of P14.4 billion during the auction in November. Mr. Harrison said the preliminary design stage will be completed 90 days after the concession agreement signing, after which it will proceed to detailed design.

The company is in talks to engage leading Cebu designer Kenneth Cobonpue for the interiors. “We have developed much larger airports and terminals. We know what needs to be done and in what order,” he added.

Over 100 employees of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) with terminal-based functions have been offered employment by GMR-Megawide. “We’ve met with the employees and we’re very hopeful that many of them will join the organization,”

Mr. Harrison said. The company will also work with the local government to ensure that road capacity connecting to the airport grows in parallel with demand. “For an airport to be efficient, it has to be efficient from air traffic standpoint, terminal capacity standpoint and in terms of surface access,” Mr. Harrison said.

Manuel Louie B. Ferrer, GMR-Megawide president, said the aim is to make Cebu an international hub “not only to promote the island, boost local business and draw in investors but also become an invaluable support to the country.”

“We at GMR-Megawide… cannot do it on our own. We need the support of all stakeholders,” he said. The project aims to rehabilitate the existing passenger terminal and build a second to bring the annual capacity to 28 million passengers at the end of the concession period.

The existing terminal was designed for 4.5 million passengers, but currently serves 7.1 million, Mr. Ferrer said.

Source: Marites S. Villamor, Business World