Sunday, December 05, 2021

Airport operator optimistic of travel rebound in near term

PANDEMIC IMPACT. Pre-pandemic, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA)catered to 35,000 passengers a day. In the first quarter of 2021, figures plunged to 2,000 passengers a day. MCIA’s private operator expects better days ahead as the country speeds up its inoculation drive and as it prepares for the election season. (SunStar file)

THE private operator of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) remains hopeful to see busy airport activities in the coming months on the back of the ongoing Covid-19 vaccinations and the upcoming May 2022 national elections.

Louie Ferrer, president and director of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), said these two activities are expected to spur recovery in the travel and tourism sector.

“We are hoping that we can bounce back because our tourism business is really affected here in the Philippines, more specifically Cebu since it contributed a lot to tourism,” said Ferrer.

Pre-pandemic, the MCIA caters to 35,000 passengers a day. In the first quarter of 2021, figures plunged to 2,000 passengers a day.

In July this year, passenger traffic went up to 4,000 a day but when Cebu was placed under the modified enhanced community quarantine status passenger traffic plunged anew.

“While we were excited and there were already plans for many developments, the industry was again affected because of other factors we can’t control,” he said.

But Ferrer is optimistic that international tourism will rebound soon following the ongoing vaccinations around the world.

Cebu’s sustained tourism markets like Japan, Korea and China are already ahead in their vaccination efforts.

“We are optimistic that these markets will be the first to visit us again,” he said.

Moreover, GMCAC is also looking forward to the upcoming May 2022 national elections because consumer spending is bound to improve. Spending on infrastructure is also expected to increase nearing the election season to avoid the ban on election spending.

On standby

Meanwhile, GMCAC’s planned construction of its hotel beside the MCIA and the second runway are on standby.

“The plan is still there. We will revisit the plan by the first quarter of next year once the situation stabilizes,” Ferrer said.

GMCAC planned to build a 400-room airport transit hotel that was supposed to start construction in 2020. (JOB)


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