Freeman Cebu Business

Aboitiz infra unit to develop MCIA into a ‘smart airport’

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Aboitiz Group, through its subsidiary Aboitiz InfraCapital (AIC), plans to make the Mactan Cebu International Airport as the Philippines’ first smart airport.

According to Rafa Aboitiz, AIC assistant vice president for project development, while the existing operational system of the Mactan Cebu International Airport already adopts smart technologies, the Aboitiz Group will explore much advanced technologies leveraging on data innovation, data science and Artificial Intelligence on a “deeper level” to maximize consumer experience.

“It’s a gradual process,” Aboitiz said referring to making MCIA a full-fledged smart airport that is par with Changi Airport in Singapore and other air travel terminals around the world. 

Smart Airports are airports categorize as such based on the use of intelligent systems such as sensors and devices configured for specific purposes in different areas in order to control, manage and plan their operations in a centralised digital environment.

The Aboitiz Group is shelling out P25 billion to acquire full ownership of the developer and operator of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) by the end of 2024. Megawide Construction Corp. has signed a share subscription and transfer agreement with AIC.

Under the transaction, the infrastructure unit of the Aboitiz Group is set to acquire shares in GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), a joint venture between Megawide and GMR Airports International BV (GAIBV).

The joint venture maintains the 25-year concession to develop, operate and maintain the MCIA.

Initially, AIC is spending P9.5 billion to purchase primary and secondary shares from Megawide and GAIBV to own 33.3 percent minus one share in GMCAC.

Megawide and GAIBV would then issue P15.5 billion worth of exchangeable notes to AIC.

Aboitiz expects that the landmark deal will be closed by fourth quarter 2022.

GAIBV’s parent GMR Infrastructure Ltd. would remain in the picture, serving as technical services provider to the airport.

Moreover, AIC has also proposed to develop and operate the New Bohol International Airport in Panglao, Bohol, as well as upgrade and operate the Laguindingan International Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, and Bicol International Airport.


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