THE GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) has proposed to take over the airside functions from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), including the construction of a second runway, in the amount of P208 billion.

GMCAC also wants MCIAA and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to extend its contract from 25 to 50 years to give them time to recover their investment.

GMCAC President Louie Ferrer said the consortium of GMR of India and Megawide of the Philippines, which operates the Mactan airport passenger terminal, submitted the unsolicited proposal to MCIAA and DOTr last week.

This is considered the first proposal of a private firm to develop and operate the airport’s airside facilities in the country.

Ferrer said that this is a long-term development of the airport’s airside part. It is seen to secure the unconstrained growth of the facility by providing a capacity of at least 50 million passengers per year.

The project will be done in three phases.

In the first phase, GMCAC will undertake the rehabilitation of MCIA’s existing runway and taxiways, construction of an additional full length parallel taxiway that can act as an emergency runway, and the development of additional rapid exit taxiways and runway holding positions, all of which will improve the efficiency of aircraft movements.

The second phase is the construction of a second parallel and independent runway, which will significantly increase the airside capacity.

The third phase, on the other hand, would be the construction of a third terminal.

Ferrer told Sunstar Cebu that the project calls for the acquisition of more airport land in order to accommodate the new facilities.

MCIAA, which has its own charter, is under General Manager Steve Dicdican and chaired by Secretary Arthur Tugade of the DOTr, where it is attached.

Ferrer said that the proposal of GMCAC officials included a second runway, which will reach as far as the the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ).

The proposal also includes a reclamation project for the second runway.

The MCIA terminal was designed for 4.5 million passengers when it became an international airport in 1991.

When GMCAC took over the airport terminal operations in 2014, the passengers already reached six million.

Ferrer said that if DOTr and MCIAA will approve an additional 25 years to its contract, the estimated passengers will have hit 50 million by the 50th year of the contract.

He said this is doable with two runways and three passenger terminals.

“We have always believed in the potential of MCIA as the primary gateway to serve Visayas and Mindanao,” Ferrer said. “Passenger traffic has shown incredible growth in the last two or three years. While this is good news for the country, especially for Cebu, we want to ensure that the airport can ably cope with this continued progress.”

GMCAC won the public-private partnership (PPP) concession to operate the MCIA passenger terminals in December 2013, and finally took over in 2014.

MCIAA Director Julius G. Neri Jr. confirmed that the MCIAA board received such a proposal.

He said that they will have a board meeting today, and the GMCAC proposal might be taken up.

Neri said that the board will thoroughly study the proposal, including its financial aspect, and timetable, among others.

Neri said that the board is open to proposals, but these will be thoroughly scrutinized.

Neri said that the board cannot just act on any proposal immediately because the scope is very big.

“We are committing to construct a second runway regardless of who will implement it. But we are also thankful for the proposal of GMCAC because it is very much aligned with our target,” Neri said.

At the City Hall, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said that the City and the airport management have not discussed yet the actual plan for the construction of a second airport runway.

In a press conference, Radaza said that Ferrer would see her whenever he comes to Cebu, but there was no discussion on the matter yet.

Earlier, the MCIAA board passed a resolution approving the plan to start the construction of a second runway.

This, after Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar suggested to build another runway using P4.9 billion of the P14.4-billion premium given by GMCAC when it won the bid to develop and manage the MCIA terminal.

On the possible reclamation of a portion of Magellan Bay in Sitio Tacan, Barangay Ibo, Radaza declined to comment, saying that she has to check on the plan.