THE Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Lapu-Lapu City is expected to see an increase in passenger traffic during the holidays, but an airport official said the number could be lower compared to the pre-pandemic holiday season.

The increase in the number of passengers going in and out of the airport is expected to happen between November and January as Filipinos return home from abroad or going back to their home provinces for the holidays, according to Edilyth Maribojoc, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) corporate affairs head.

“The expected passenger [traffic is] definitely not the same during the pre-pandemic,” Maribojoc said in an interview on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022.

In the same interview, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) general manager Julius Neri Jr. said that “if the flights are now 70 percent full, then there may be 90 percent full” during the holidays.

New flights in December can contribute to the uptick in MCIA’s passenger traffic.

The general manager said they installed more help desks in the airport, including Terminal 1 (domestic flights) and Terminal 2 (international flights).

“We have more help desks around so people who arrive can easily seek help if they need direction or guidance,” Neri said.

An internet provider is also expected to install free WiFi in Terminals 1 and 2.

There will also be virtual assistance that passengers can utilize in case they have questions.

MCIAA Public Affairs Office head Mary Ann Dimabayao said medical teams and personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine National Police will also be stationed in the airport.

Dimabayao said they are also working with other government agencies, including the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, to secure passengers during the Christmas season. MCIAA called its program “Biyaheng Ayos Christmas.”

Citing international predictions, Neri said airports may be able to recover by the end of 2023.

The general manager said that they are on the road to recovery, adding that MCIA is by far the best among the other airports in the country.

“In fact, Cebu is being used as the model airport. So many other airports want to follow Cebu,” Neri said.

He also revealed that they are being asked to share their best practices with other airports, which they have been doing and will continue to do for the development of the country as a whole.

“But we are the standard. We are very proud of that and we are benchmarking not with other airports in the Philippines but the best airports in the world. Mao nay atong gustong standard,” he added. (MKG)