Builder to collaborate with Cebu-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Sunday, June 22, 2014
DESPITE their experience in running airports, the GMR-Megawide consortium hopes to collaborate with Cebu’s private sector to know what kind of airport they want for Cebu.
For Andrew Acquaah Harrison, chief executive adviser of the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., a well-run airport means passengers won’t have to recall their airport experience because everything was done efficiently.
Speaking to members of the Cebu business community at the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s tribute to Cebu business and investors Friday, Harrison said they want to know what travelers want and are willing to consult with stakeholders to develop the airport that is best for Cebu.
More spare capacity
He said that in seven to 10 years, the Mactan Cebu International Airport will have more spare capacity than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
Harrison said that when they begin operations on Oct. 19, they will start a soft redevelopment of Terminal 1 and assured it will not be turned into a construction site. Their plan includes improvements on the ceilings, seating, queuing systems and comfort rooms.
He said queues develop at document checks and revealed they are looking into other ways to speed up this process.
Harrison said that in three years, they will start working on Terminal 2, which will hold all international flights. They will then develop the international side of Terminal 1, followed by the domestic side so that Terminal 1 can serve all domestic flights. This, he said, will be done in four years.
With the airport’s current capacity of 4.5 million passengers, Harrison said it will be able to serve 12.5 million by the end of three years.
He said they are also recruiting staff to handle the operations and are willing to invite stakeholders in training and development programs to help develop Cebu’s tourism.
Harrison believes airports should serve as places to facilitate the needs of the industry. They assured their cooperation in working with stakeholders to attract tourists to Cebu and the rest of the Visayas, especially those from Western Europe.
While Cebu has been able to attract big numbers from East Asian countries, Harrison said it is best if there is a fair distribution of foreign tourists rather than just from one region.
The problem, he said, is that not many know of what the Philippines has to offer. He narrated that he made a presentation to a group of people showing photos of the beaches in Maldives. He included one photo of a beach in Cebu and said the group did not realize it was a different place.
Attracting Western Europeans, he said, means more revenue, as they tend to stay 10 to 12 nights on average, which means more receipts from transportation, food, retail, resorts, hotels and other businesses.
He praised the Cebuano community for having a collaborative attitude, which he hopes will help them in their consultations with the locals.
He said they will be conducting a consumer survey from passengers and stakeholders to understand the things they want to see done in the airport.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 23, 2014.