The parallel taxiway/secondary runway that the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) will be building soon will be completed in 2022.
This new runway will serve as “emergency” runway and is not the planned second runway that is foreseen to displace 150 Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) locators, MCIAA General Manager Steve Dicdican stressed.
The civil works contract for the emergency runway is expected to be awarded when the MCIAA Board meets on Thursday, January 9, 2020. Groundbreaking ceremonies have tentatively scheduled for January 14, 2020.
In a statement, Dicdican said the parallel taxiway will be used in the event of an emergency that would render the existing runway unusable, such as aircraft accidents or maintenance work.
“In the past, we have often experienced closures of our single runway due to repair, maintenance, inspections, or aircraft accidents. We want to avoid these kinds of operational disruptions and inconvenience to our passengers in the future, and that is why we are eager to construct this additional runway,” he said.
He said construction of the proposed additional runway for emergencies is “timely” as the average hourly traffic at MCIA is projected to increase to 43 air traffic movements (ATMs) by 2032.
“Aircraft emergencies can happen at any time, as we experienced in Cebu and Manila. We also have to factor in the runway maintenance and repairs that need to be conducted. Given the volume of air traffic that MCIA has and its impact on our community and economy, we need to ensure that airport operations will not be disrupted,” he said.
Not an ‘independent second runway’
Dicdican clarified that this runway is different from the fully independent parallel runway proposed by GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation under its unsolicited proposal for a 50-year masterplan for the airport.
GMR Megawide has been granted original proponent status for the project, which is under evaluation by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). This second independent runway is eyed for completion in 2032.
“The GMR Megawide proposal includes the fully independent parallel runway, which is to be located in the current MEPZ area. Our runway project complements their proposal,” Dicdican explained.
“We need both projects. We need the proposed independent runway if we are to have a complete solution to the runway congestion that have plagued busy airports. However, we do not want to wait until 2032 or until our single runway’s capacity threshold is reached before we do something to protect and improve our runway operations,” Dicdican stressed.
He said the parallel taxiway/secondary runway is merely an “interim solution that ensures uninterrupted operations and fractional operational efficiency.”
“(It is) at least enough to tide us over until 2032. Past 2032, we must already have an operational independent runway, which means that the building of this independent runway must commence by next year at the latest. Cebu is growing at a rapid pace, and MCIA as the main gateway must be able to properly prepare for this growth. The time to act for future airport contingencies, whether aircraft emergencies or capacity building, is now,” he added. (Ventures Cebu)