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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mactan airport wins international award

MACTAN-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) again won recognition for being among Asia’s top airports.

The airport was named Asia Pacific Regional Airport of the Year by CAPA-Center for Aviation in Singapore last Nov. 15.

According to CAPA, MCIA “has been the biggest standout strategically, has established itself as a leader and has done the most to advance the progress of the aviation industry.”

Australia-based CAPA is the leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence and other services worldwide. Candidates for the award were shortlisted by a team of analysts and by aviation partners from the executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles.

Turnaround

“We are thrilled by this recognition as it brings pride not just to our company but also to the Philippines. In the past, we have only been known for having the worst airports but through MCIA, we are changing that mindset,” said Louie Ferrer, president of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC).

The award, according to GMCAC, is an addition to the airport’s other recognitions.

MCIA landed as 14th best airport in Asia according to The Guide to Sleeping in Airports’ website this year, an improvement from last year’s 18th place standing.

Andrew Harrison, GMCAC’s chief executive adviser, said he looks forward to further increasing MCIA’s connectivity, emphasizing that route development is essential to the airport’s success.

Stronger position

“We want to strengthen Cebu’s position as an international hub. We want to take advantage of market opportunities, and ensure continued dialogue with existing carriers while presenting business cases to potential airlines. We also regularly consult with stakeholders such as tourism authorities, and the travel and tourism sector,” said Harrison.

Last Saturday, listed airline Cebu Pacific (CEB) strengthened Cebu’s position as the gateway to Visayas-Mindanao with the launch of three new routes to Cebu’s neighboring islands.

The airline began its daily flights between Cebu and Ormoc and Cebu and Roxas; and its four weekly flights (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) between Cebu and Calbayog during the weekend.

“CEB remains committed in offering the most convenient choices for passengers at the lowest fares possible. With these additional routes in and out of the Queen City of the South, more guests can now easily explore the Visayas region. At the same time, locals can now connect not only to Cebu and Manila, but to international destinations as well. Rest assured, we will continue to persist in expanding our horizons and promote trade and tourism in the destinations we operate in,” said Alexander Lao, Cebgo president and chief executive officer.

Lao said they considered the population and economic potential of these three islands and the company’s mission to connect the country’s islands through convenient and affordable travel as some of the factors that made them open routes in Ormoc, Roxas and Calbayog.

Remote access

Tourism Assistant Secretary Daniel Mercado welcomed the airline’s expansion in its Cebu hub, saying that connecting these islands would help more communities feel the 7.1 percent economic growth of the country. This would also provide access and open more economic opportunities in the countryside, one of the thrusts of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

CEB said these new routes will foster stronger cargo services and spur tourism in these islands.

With the addition of these new routes, CEB now has a total of 25 domestic routes in Cebu.

In 2015, over 4.4 million passengers flew to and from Cebu. Cebu routes covered about 24 percent of the airline’s seat capacity last year.

Some of CEB’s unique routes in its Cebu hub are Camiguin, Siargao, Tandag, Ormoc and Calbayog.

CEB now has a total of 36 domestic destinations and 30 international destinations.

In the first half of this year, the airline generated P33 billion in revenues, up by 12 percent year on year, making it corner a 59 percent market share.

Passenger revenues climbed 11 percent to P25 billion, after CEB carried over 10 million passengers for the first semester of 2016.

Cargo revenues also rose by six percent to P2 billion.
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