Freeman Cebu Business

Mall and hotel eyed as part of MCIA development plan

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The developer and operator of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), Aboitiz InfraCapital GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (AGMCAC), plans to spend billions of pesos over the next 10 to 15 years to build more facilities within the airport, including a hotel and a shopping mall.

“A component like a hotel or a mall or maybe other commercial offerings will be part of the holistic plan to expand the airport,” said Rafael “Rafa” Aboitiz, vice president and head of Airports at Aboitiz InfraCapital.

In an interview with Aboitiz, he said that with travel and tourism nearing full recovery from the travel slump caused by the pandemic, the company decided to revisit their infrastructure investments for the airport, which included having a shopping mall, a hotel, and possibly expanding vital infrastructure like its terminals and aprons.

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,” Aboitiz added.

Upon Aboitiz InfraCapital’s took over to manage the award-winning Mactan International Airport in 2022, Aboitiz said that part of the plan is to make the airport the first smart airport in the Philippines.

Aboitiz said the company will explore much on advanced technologies leveraging data innovation, data science and artificial intelligence (AI) on a “deeper level” to maximize consumer experience.

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

Meanwhile, Aboitiz added that the company is in the final stages of inking the contract deals to manage and operate the new Bohol International Airport in Panglao, and the Laguindingan International Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.

The company hopes to finalize the deals between the two airports in the second half of 2024.

On June 19, 2024 AGMCAC unveiled the opening of “Cebu Connect” facility which is expected to position the Mactan-Cebu International Airport as the next transit hub in Southeast Asia.

Cebu Connect is a project aimed at enhancing the transfer service system in the country’s second-largest airport.

MCIA has the capacity to handle 16 million passengers in its two existing terminals. With new flights to Masbate, and San Vicente in Palawan, it currently links Cebu to 29 domestic and 12 international destinations, including connecting flights to Doha and Dubai. 

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