Airport may soon be served by cable cars

A CABLE car system may be the fastest way to bring travelers from a point in Mandaue City to the airport.

That is why the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) and GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) are evaluating the feasibility of this mode of transportation.

“In my opinion, it’s one of the better options that we can immediately undertake if all the parties agree to the arrangement,” said MCIAA General Manager Steve Dicdican.

Fortunato Sanchez Jr., president of Socor Construction Corp., presented the concept of cable cars during the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 Fourth Quarter Full Council Meeting last Dec. 14, 2018.

“When he (Sanchez) presented it to me, I wanted a different configuration of the terminals leading up to the airport. Also, I’m only interested in possibly three terminals just to offer an alternative to crossing the bridge,” he said.

However, Dicdican said they have yet to discuss the matter with the government and the private sector that may be affected by the project.

“If I can within my term at least initiate (the project), then we will do it. This has to be a joint venture of several entities and the affected areas that we have identified we have three government areas--the air force, the Peza area and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA). On the private end, there would be probably some malls if you want to pass through. So that’s why we have to discuss with them also on the viability of this project,” he said.

He said the cable car system could be implemented in 18 to 24 months.

“The cable car system comprises the fittings, the aerial roadway and then the stations. Actually, what takes the most amount of time is the development of the stations, and the idea is to really connect the airport to Mandaue so we give people more choices,” said GMR Megawide chief executive adviser Andrew Acquaah-Harrison.

With the cable car system, travelers can estimate their time of arrival at the airport, he said.

“We’re looking at it as urban transportation that complements the existing system of jeepneys, buses, taxis and cars that would reduce the road demands. It also gives people the sense of guaranteed arrival time because when you board the cable car at this time, you know what time you will arrive at the airport. Today, you board a car, you have no idea what time you’ll arrive at the airport whether it’s a car or a bus but you’ll never know,” Harrison told reporters during the launching of the MCIA’s new Terminal 1 arrival pick-up zone.

Having worked on an eco-project in Bolivia where cable cars are used in public mass transport, Harrison said the cable cars will not compete but will instead complement the existing modes of transportation.

He said implementing the Bus Rapid Transit or the Light Rail Transit takes a much longer time.

“We’re not saying that we’re not in favor of both. We’re in favor of any program of the local government unit or (what) the government would like to introduce. But again, this (cable car system) could be something that would give us an advantage because it’s complementary,” he said.

Dicdican said a cable car system can fit the passenger traffic that goes through the airport.

“When you look at the ridership that the airport can generate, cable cars are ideal. You know already how many people will avail (themselves) of the service and we will create a transportation that will be sufficient for that market. We feel that cable cars are sufficient for our needs in the airport,” he said.

The MCIA catered to 11.3 million passengers in 2018.


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