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Incentives for airlines using Mactan airport backed

MANILA, Philippines - The operator of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and local airlines are strongly supporting a plan to grant incentives to airlines operating in the country’s second busiest airport in Cebu as part of efforts to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), a joint venture between Filipino-owned Megawide Construction Corp. and Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure, said the incentives being proposed by the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) would further expand the routes being serviced by the international gateway.

“GMCAC is in full support of this incentive scheme because it will strengthen our efforts in bringing the world to Cebu through new airline routes in and out of MCIA,” GMCAC head of corporate affairs Estee Marie Plunket said.

It projects a year-on-year increase in the combined number of domestic and international flights amid the reduction of congestion in the passenger terminal building.

For one, national flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) has revived its Cebu hub by launching flights to Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban, Davao, Iloilo, Butuan, and Bacolod while budget carrier Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) is set to mount direct flights to Narita, Japan.

GMCAC bagged the P19.5-billion Mactan MCIA passenger terminal expansion project under the public private partnership (PPP) scheme with an upfront cash payment of P14.4 billion.

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For his part, Cebu Pacific officer-in-charge of corporate affairs Paterno Mantaring Jr. said the budget carrier fully supports the incentives being dangled by MCIAA.

“Cebu Pacific welcomes the proposed incentive plan for airlines at the MCIA,” he said.

He pointed out that the incentives would help encourage the development of new routes.

“The airline incentive program is in line with best practices of successful airports around the world. We look forward to further developing our Cebu-based network,” Mantaring said.

Earlier, MCIAA general manager Nigel Paul Villarete said in a notice that it would conduct a public hearing on May 20 on the proposed incentive plan for landing and take-off fees at the country’s second busiest airport.

Under the proposal, MCIAA would extend rebates equivalent to 30 percent to 75 percent of landing and take-off charges for long-haul international routes and 30 to 65 percent for short to medium-haul routes depending on the number of flights per week.

Likewise, MCIAA would grant rebates ranging from 25 percent to 65 percent of landing and take-off fees for domestic routes depending on the frequency of flights per week.

Traffic at the country’s second busiest airport is continually increasing and is now serving 1,079 commercial flights weekly transporting 18,739 passengers daily.

MCIAA data showed that the number of domestic and international aircraft that landed and took off from the gateway declined by 13 percent to 56,281 last year from 64.945.

The volume of domestic and international passengers retreated by 2.1 percent to 6.84 million last year from 6.99 million in 2013. The number of domestic passengers fell 3.9 percent to 5.16 million from 5.37 million while the number of international passengers decreased by 3.7 percent to 1.68 million from 1.62 million.

However, international passenger traffic grew by an average of 17 percent per year while domestic passenger traffic rose by an annual average of seven percent over the last 24 years.


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