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Mactan Airport, DOT win awards

Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 (Ventures Cebu Photo)

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) were among the winners of the Routes Asia 2023 Awards on Feb. 15, 2023 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

MCIA, which is operated by GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), was the winner of the Under 5 Million Passenger Category. This award recognizes organizations that have excelled in route development marketing. The airlines cast votes to select the winner.

"GMCAC has always taken a two-pronged approach to route development: airline marketing to create supply and destination marketing to ensure the sustainability of its airline partners' presence and address the demand for air services," Ellie Wells, Routes head of marketing, wrote in a statement.

The DOT, meanwhile, was named the winner in the Destination category.

"It has continued to be persistent in its efforts to partner with airports and airlines to reinstate discontinued routes and secure new air services. It has done this through marketing efforts locally and globally, regional travel exchanges and business-to-business meetings, joint campaigns, international roadshows, and familiarisation tours for agents and media," the statement added.

GMCAC, which is now partly owned by the Aboitiz Group, said the MCIA bested more than 200 other airports in the Asia Pacific with a passenger volume of under 5 million in 2022.

"This recognition attests to our strong commitment to resume our pre-pandemic connectivity while we carry out our strategies in both airline and destination marketing." - Rafael Aboitiz, GMCAC director

“This recognition attests to our strong commitment to resume our pre-pandemic connectivity while we carry out our strategies in both airline and destination marketing. We also recognize the substantial contribution of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), our airline partners, and other airport stakeholders that help sustain the demand and traffic for air connectivity in Cebu,” said Rafael Aboitiz, GMCAC director.

The addition of new airline partners and new destinations in 2022 significantly boosted the pre-pandemic traffic in Cebu, with domestic traffic now topping more than 80% of its pre-pandemic levels.

As of January 2023, MCIA is linked to 10 international destinations and 26 domestic destinations, and has 14 foreign and 4 Philippine-based airline partners.

Arrival area of T2 (Ventures Cebu Photo)

The MCIA is the second busiest airport in the Philippines. Its rehabilitation and upgrading was the first airline PPP (public-private partnership) project awarded in the country. A major component of the project was the construction of Terminal 2 (T2). This new terminal, which brings MCIA's passenger carrying capacity to more than 12 million annually, started operations in July 2018.

GMCAC, which holds the 25-year concession to operate the airport, is a joint venture of the Filipino-owned Megawide Construction Corp. (Megawide) and GMR Airports International, B.V. (GAIBV) from India. Both Megawide and GAIBV, however, have agreed to sell their shares to Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc., the infrastructure unit of the Aboitiz Group.

Aboitiz initially infused more than P9 billion into GMCAC to acquire a third of the shares. It is set to fully take over the company in late 2024.

The overall winner of this year's Routes Awards was Singapore's Changi Airport, which increased its traffic to 32.2 million passenger movements in 2022 from just 3.1 million passenger movements in 2021. It has recovered 47% of its passenger traffic compared with 2019 and is currently ranked the 7th busiest international airport in the world.

Perth Airport in Australia was also named the winner of the 5-10 Million Passenger Category, while low-cost carrier AirAsia received the Airline Award. (MVI/Ventures Cebu)

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