Aboitiz Infra to revisit plans to build mall, hotel at MCIA

Aboitiz Infra to revisit plans to build mall, hotel at MCIA
BULLISH. Rafael Aboitiz, vice president and head of Airports at Aboitiz InfraCapital, says Aboitiz is eyeing to invest billions in the MCIA in the next five to 15 years. / CONTRIBUTED

Aboitiz InfraCapital is planning to revisit the master-planned development for Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), which includes plans to build a mall and a hotel.

“The Philippines is within the last latter stage of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. So it’s a good time now to revisit our long-term planning and part of the long-term planning will be revisiting the infrastructure investment needed and a component of that is going to be something like a potential hotel or mall attachment (within the airport),” said Rafael Aboitiz, vice president and head of Airports at Aboitiz InfraCapital.

MCIA is now privately run by Aboitiz GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (AGMCAC), a company under Aboitiz InfraCapital.

Aboitiz said they are eyeing to invest billions in MCIA in the next five to 15 years.

“A component like a hotel or a mall or maybe other commercial offerings will be part of the holistic plan to expand the airport,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Cebu Connect launching on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Cebu Connect is MCIA’s new transfer service facility.

At present, the site development for the mall, located right beside the arrivals area of Terminal 2, is ongoing.

“So when we look at an asset like Cebu, we look at investing not just in the airport, but the surrounding infrastructure that supports it,” he said.

Former MCIA operator GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. initially planned to transform MCIA into one of the country’s next travel and lifestyle destinations by pouring more investments into commercial and retail projects.

According to a 2016 report, the planned mixed-use development will include hotels, a mall complex and gaming activities, including a casino.

Other provincial airports

Besides running the MCIA, Aboitiz InfraCapital is also eyeing to operate Bohol-Panglao International Airport and Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro. The company has the original proponent status for these two provincial airports.

“They’re currently under the latter stage of negotiation with the government. So plans will be revealed in time… We hope for these to proceed materially within the second half of this year,” he said.

According to reports, Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Roberto Lim said Lagundingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro is now up for “Swiss challenge.” Aside from Laguindingan, the Bohol-Panglao airport is also in the advancing stage of talks. The government may award the winning bidder for both airports by the end of the year.

As of April 2024, MCIA posted 926,025 passengers, up 18 percent from 787,781 passengers in the same month last year. Of the total passengers, 696,698 were domestic passengers, while 229,327 were international passengers.

Air traffic movements also grew by 14 percent. About 15 airlines are operating at MCIA, of which five are local airlines and 15 are foreign airlines. MCIA is connected to 40 destinations as of April. / KOC

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