Countdown. Government and airport officials started last Monday a countdown to the MCIA Terminal 2’s opening. (SunStar Foto/Allan Cuizon)
TERMINAL 2 (T2) of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is now in its final stage of completion, with just 110 days to go until it opens its gates to the world.
Andrew Harrison, chief executive adviser of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) said 91 percent of the terminal has been completed and its concessionaires have started doing their work.
“Construction is mostly done and most of the systems have already been installed,” said Harrison, adding that by April, the team will begin installing the design components inside the new terminal.
Harrison also disclosed that they have started implementing the Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (Orat) program for the opening of T2, which focuses on intensive testing of facilities, processes and facilities, information technology and airport systems, and human resource readiness.
Orat will be conducted in phases, the first of which includes walkthrough training and familiarization. The company will also invite stakeholders to act as passengers during the trial phases.
GMCAC president Louie Ferrer announced that the inaugural launch of T2 is slated on June 6, which will be attended by President Rodrigo Duterte, some dignitaries and other prominent personalities.
He said the launching will be a big celebration, as it marks the completion of one of Cebu’s big-ticket infrastructure projects.
GMCAC targets to operate T2 by June 15. Under the concession agreement, the company has until July 1 to begin operations.
“If we would be ready before our target date, then we will begin operations. We will not wait for July 1,” said Harrison.
It was in late 2014 when GMCAC, a joint venture of GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India and Megawide Construction Corp. of the Philippines, took over the operations at MCIA under a public-private-partnership scheme.
Construction of T2 began in the first half of 2015.
GMCAC on Monday started the countdown to T2’s official opening. It likewise announced the airport’s new brand identity with its new tagline, “Experience the Warmth of Cebu,” which highlights Cebu as a resort destination, the warmth and hospitality of its people, and its vision of becoming the world’s friendliest airport.
At the same event, Cebuano fashion designer Cary Santiago showcased the redesigned signature uniforms of the customer service executives, whose modern look was inspired by Sinulog’s history in warm hues of red, orange, and yellow.
“T2 confirms Cebu’s top position as a travel hub for international routes. It is a real showcase of Cebu, not just an airport but as a destination,” said Alice Queblatin, president of Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (Catos), adding that tour operators are happy with the new tagline because the airport becomes part of the itinerary, a wholesome place to start a total Cebu experience.
“It is a big help to appease passengers from the discomfort of delayed or cancelled flights,” she added.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza reiterated the local government’s full support in ensuring that MCIA’s expansion would be supported by other infrastructure components like better roads, among others.
Radaza credited MCIA’s expansion to the continued boom in the island. She said since the past years, the island has become a new home to high-class resorts, businesses and other investments.
“We see this as a challenge on how we can improve and meet the infrastructure requirements like roads, hotel room expansion, and invitations to new investors,” said Radaza.
“We are now challenged to match it with warm and impeccable customer service,” added Queblatin.
MCIA’s T2 will increase passenger capacity to 12.5 million.
After T2’s completion, renovation of Terminal 1 will commence and is slated for completion by June 2019.