THE GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) recorded airline passenger traffic of 6.9 million in 2014, with the figure increasing to eight million in 2015.

And with new routes introduced this year, they expect even more passengers by the end of 2016.

“We expect 8.9 million this year,,” said Ravishankar Saravu, GMCAC chief commercial advisor during the 888 News Forum yesterday.

The new routes include Cebu-Osaka (Japan), Cebu-Nagoya (Japan), Cebu-Narita (Japan), Cebu-Los Angeles (United States), Cebu-Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Cebu-Xiamen (China), Cebu-Taipei (Taiwan) and Cebu-Busan (South Korea).

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is servicing flights to Osaka, Nagoya, Narita and Los Angeles. Emirates Airlines serves the Dubai route for seven flights a week.

Xiamen Airlines is flying Cebu to Xiamen, China three times a week while Cebu Pacific flies to Taipei four times weekly. EVA Air also flies between Cebu and Taipei seven times a week.

There is also an increase in flight frequency by Cathay Pacific and Silk Air in the existing routes from Cebu to Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively.

In the domestic scene, Air Swift opened new routes from Cebu to El Nido.

PAL also re-established its secondary hub in Cebu, with six additional domestic routes to Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Bacolod, Iloilo and Tacloban since last year.

Saravu said they have established a transfer facility in Cebu since December. Passengers can now use the transfer facility in Cebu for connecting domestic flights with a minimum of 60 minutes connecting time; and domestic to international and international to domestic connections with a minimum of 90 minutes connecting time.

Saravu said travelers from Visayas and Mindanao can benefit from this facility to transfer through Cebu without touching down in Manila.

He said that they are also working closely with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and human resource recruitment agencies to make it easy for overseas Filipino workers to travel directly from Cebu.

“We also work closely with DOT (Department of Tourism) to market Cebu and the Philippines as a tourist destination using road shows, familiarization tours and digital media, among others,” Saravu said.