The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) handled 5.76 million passengers for the first half of this year, a 12.50% year-on-year increase compared to 5.12 million in 2017. At the same time, air traffic movement also grew 12.86% year-on-year to 49,843 flights this year from 44,165 flights last year.
From January to June, MCIA recorded 3.87 million domestic passengers while international traffic totalled 1.89 million passengers. Domestic and international passenger traffic increased by 10.19% and 17.54%, respectively.
Peak domestic passenger traffic was recorded in May with 760,000 passengers, while international traffic peaked during the months of January, February, May, and June with a monthly average of 320,000 passengers.
MCIA recorded a total of 37,720 domestic flights, up 12.25% from 33,603 in 2017. Meanwhile, international flights hit a 14.78% increase to 12,123 flights from 10,562 of last year’s first half. Peak air traffic movement was recorded in the month of May with 6,642 domestic flights and 2,101 international flights.
“We closed the mid-year with a remarkable performance and we are positive to hit the projected 11.2 million passenger traffic this year especially now that we have opened Terminal 2,” said GMCAC President Louie Ferrer.
Spanning 65,500 square meters, the newly-opened Terminal 2 is dedicated to serve international flights and can accommodate 4.5 million passengers. The new facility increased MCIA’s current passenger capacity to a minimum of 12.5 million passengers per annum.
There was also robust development at MCIA in terms of connectivity as both local and foreign carriers increased their flight frequencies and mounted more flights out of Cebu. According to Mr. Ferrer, this remarkable growth is due to GMCAC’s initiatives to add more connections to local regions in the country and to other Southeast Asian destinations.
Philippines Air Asia launched three new routes out of MCIA to Chinese destinations-- Hangzhou, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. Meanwhile, it added a thrice-weekly flight to Clark in May.
Philippine Airlines subsidiary, PAL Express, resumed PAL’s Cebu-Chengdu service in May 8 and mounted charter flights to Hangzhou and Nanjing in July.
Cebu Pacific has started charter services as well to two Chinese destinations namely, Shanghai and Beijing with 3 and 2 weekly flights, respectively.
Meanwhile, other foreign carriers also mounted new routes from Cebu Airport including Beijing-based airline Okay Airways which kicked off its Cebu-Changsa-Cebu last June 10 with its thrice weekly flights.
China Eastern Airlines upgraded its Cebu-Shanghai service from an A320 to the wide-body A330 aircraft starting this month. The A333 (33E) aircraft has a capacity of 29 Business class and 203 Economy seats, while the 33L aircraft that they are using offers 31 Business class, 32 Premium Economy, and 229 Economy seats.
Royal Air Charter Service, Inc., the newest addition to the airlines operating at the Mactan-Cebu Airport, commenced its non-scheduled, daily charter services from Cebu to Macau starting June 20.
Ferrer explained that the increase in flight frequencies and the addition of new routes especially to China manifests that there is a growing demand from the Chinese market for alternative travel destination and “Cebu has become that top choice for them.”
“With the opening of MCIA’s newest passenger terminal building or Terminal 2 on July 1, GMCAC remains committed to its goal of making Mactan Cebu Airport as the major transfer hub in Southeast Asia. We aggressively promote Cebu as a premium destination in the Philippines and proactively support other agencies that share the same vision”.
Early this month, GMCAC partnered with the Department of Tourism and the Department of Foreign Affairs in welcoming about 300 Filipino-Americans who participated in the 12th Ambassador’s Tour. Led by Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles Adelio Angelito Cruz, the guests were treated to a warm welcome in Cebu Airport with a rondalla and sweet treats as they commenced their 5-day tour in Cebu and Bohol.
In May, GMCAC supported the mega familiarization tour of top European operators held in Makati City. Organized by the Tourism Promotions Board, this famtour brought together major travel and tour operators from different European countries such as United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Turkey to the Philippines. GMCAC Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrisson, in his presentation at the said event, highlighted Cebu as a key destination that will be attractive and marketable to Europeans in terms of travel, leisure, and business.
Aside from its marketing initiatives targeting North America and Europe, GMCAC also organized sales missions in key provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao early this year. GMCAC and participating airlines such as Air Swift, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Emirates, and Eva Air promoted their services via Cebu highlighting MCIA as a convenient transfer hub to other local and international destinations.
“We constantly explore new markets that have a potential to expand the connectivity of Cebu to other countries particularly North America, Europe, Australia, and other Asian countries,” said Ferrer.
Considered as the central gateway to the Visayas and Southern Philippines, MCIA is the second largest airport hub in the country. With a total of 23 international destinations, 33 domestic destinations and with 26 partner airline carriers, the Mactan-Cebu Airport is no longer just a secondary airport but a primary gateway that connects Cebu to the rest of the Philippines and to the world.