By Minerva Newman
LAPU-LAPU CITY – Renovation of Terminal 1 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) started this week to implement the distinct look designed by the acclaimed award-winning architects Budji + Royal Design that will turn it into an “Airport Village”, complementing the resort-airport themed Terminal 2.
According to MCIAA general manager Atty. Steve Dicdican, the Terminal 1 Arrivals Pick-up Zone accounts for the majority of the MCIA passenger traffic at 7.7 million passengers per year.
“We need a concept of an open airport where the meeters and greeters come in to the check-in area where they sit and relax, with international and local brand stores open for them to eat or drink while waiting,” Dicdican said.
An airport village will provide necessities for passengers such as hotel room reservations, bus transits, rent a car accommodation and booking for flights, Dicdican added.
GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) Chief Executive Adviser Andrew Harrison said that architects have focused on a design concept that will make Terminal 1 more efficient, more pleasant to use, and most importantly, will provide significant improvement in various facilities for use by passengers, as well as those receiving and seeing them off. (Minerva BC Newman)
Harrison said as part of the resort-airport concept is a significant change for Terminal 1. The current T1 arrivals pick-up road will be permanently closed and transformed into the “Airport Village”.
“The Airport Village provides a much better arrival experience for passengers and significantly expand the waiting areas for meters and greeters making MCIA the most passenger-friendly airport,” Harrison added.
More projects coming up
The project has always been the idea of the concession of MCIA and since this is a transition phase, developments are on-going. The completion of the construction roughly ends around September 2019, Dicdican bared.
This also includes GMCAC’s improvement from when they took over the airport in 2014, from 15 domestic routes, now there are 36 domestic routes. Same as when they started with 7 international routes, now there are 26 international routes, Dicdican added.
Asides from the new facilities of MCIA, Atty. Dicdican expressed in a recent board meeting that several projects were approve to enhance the safety and security of Mactan-Cebu airport.
And one of the big projects approved is to remove the initial check of the airport, and replace them with another set of series of security measures. A new security system and equipment, such as portable x-rays, CCTVs and under chassis camera, he bared.
“We have a very comprehensive security plan because MCIA’s objective is to maintain safety, efficiency, and of course the friendliness of this airport so people may enjoy their travel experience ensuring that they maintain a very high standard of security for the safety of our passengers,” Dicdican stated.
Another project in the oven is a cable car system for transportation to and from MCIA which was suggested by Dicdican and Harrison.
The officials are looking for the possibility of the airport, GMCAC and maybe bring in other stake holders to this kind of arrangement having a few stations in Mactan leading up to the mainland.
According to Dicdican last year, The Department of Transportation (DOTr) had discussions on building a cable car system to help ease road congestion, equal to the other public transport options such as jeepneys, buses, and taxis.
Harrison said DoTr’s proposal of cable cars as a way for transportation, the Philippines could learn from Bolivia. “I used to work for the airport project of Bolivia, and the mass transit cable car system was a very successful project,” Harrison said.
In its five years in operation, the system has transported more than 106 million passengers. It now averages 159,000 a day, Harrison added.
From all forms of transportation, this becomes a complementary mode than a competitive mode of transportation. Hopefully, they could see the benefit of the cable car system, Harrison said.
Dicdican said that if he can within his term as MCIA manager, at least initiate or have it approved then he will do it. (with reports from Aubrey Jimenea, USC intern)