A BETTER runway and a study on the possibility of a second runway lead the priorities of the new board of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).

Four new directors of the MCIAA Board took oath yesterday, followed by four new commissioners of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA).

All eight new officials were appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte last month upon the recommendation of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.

A private consortium, the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., has managed terminal operations in Mactan for two years now. But the runway and the aviation side continue to be under the MCIAA, which served more flights this year than in 2015.

From January to October 2016, 59,076 flights passed through Mactan airport, nearly 16 percent more than in the same period in 2015. Mactan has seen an additional 5,169 domestic flights in the first 10 months of 2016. That’s about 12.6 percent more than in the same months the year before.

Busier airport

The number of international flights is also up, from 9,961 flights from January to October 2015 to 12,833 flights in the same months in 2016. The additional 2,872 flights represent a nearly 29 percent increase.

In a press conference, new airport manager Steve Dicdican, a lawyer, said that MCIAA will implement a rejuvenation of the runway, a project that will cost around P200 million.

Dicdican said that based on the records, the last time the runway went through the process was in 2005. Repairs may start in the first quarter of 2017, he added.

One of the new directors, Julius G. Neri Jr., said that the runway rejuvenation will conform with international standards and that the project is important because it would enable aircraft to land or take off more smoothly.

Dicdican said they are also studying the possibility of constructing a second runway at an estimated cost of P2 billion for three kilometers. He said the present runway has only 30 percent utilization rate at present and they will construct the second runway when it reach 80 percent.

‘Plan early’

Neri, for his part, said that the MCIAA doesn’t want the airport to be like the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) where flights are often delayed by one hour or longer.

“That’s why, this early, we want proper planning,” Neri said.

The new members of the board, in addition to Dicdican and Neri, are lawyers Annabel Pulvera Page and Deolito Alvarez.

All four took oath before Basak, Lapu-Lapu City Barangay Captain Isabelito Darnayla in a ceremony in the Cebu Country Club yesterday.

Dicdican is the son of retired Court of Appeals Justice Isaias Dicdican. Page is the chief legal officer of Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. (Opascor). Neri is also president and general manager of Sun.Star Publishing Inc. Alvarez is a practicing lawyer.

Four new CPA commissioners also took oath in the same venue yesterday: Angelo Verdan, who is also the general manager; Allan Alfon, Liloan Vice Mayor Duke Frasco and lawyer Joselito Pedaria.

They took their oath of office before San Roque, Cebu City Barangay Captain Cyrus Lindog.

Dino said he is confident that the new appointees of the Duterte administration will accomplish great things.

Port review

Transportation Secretary Art Tugade chairs the MCIAA board, with Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo as vice-chair. Its directors from the government are Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Capt. Antonio Buendia of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

In an interview, Frasco said he will resign as Liloan vice mayor and will be replaced by Municipal Councilor Thelma Jordan, who won the most number of votes during the council elections last May.

Unlike most of the appointees, Verdan is not new to the CPA. After his stint as MCIAA general manager from 2002 to 2005, he was appointed as CPA general manager from 2006 to 2010. His last government position was administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) from February 2010 to Dec. 31, 2010.

Verdan said that the CPA board will soon review all the documents covering the New Cebu International Container Port (NCICP) project.

He said that while NCICP was already approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Board chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, that development concerned the funding.

The new port’s design, he added, is still to be worked out.