Officials said they aim to complete the parallel runway at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and two smaller airports on Bantayan Island and Camotes Islands before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in mid-2022.
Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said he was told by MCIA Authority (MCIAA) general manager Julius G. Neri, Jr. that the second runway would be partially operational before the end of April 2022.
Tugade also vowed to prioritize the completion of the airports in Bantayan and Camotes, as well as the construction of another airport in Medellin town in northern Cebu before Duterte's term ends in July 2022.
As of Oct. 28, 2021, the co-dependent second runway was 53% complete, Neri said.
He said civil works had been delayed because of the lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We’re a little bit behind and we’re doing our best to catch up. We hope to have partial operability before the end of President Duterte’s term,” he said during the inauguration of MCIAA’s new corporate building Thursday, Oct. 28.
The second runway, which is 2,600 meters long and 45 meters wide, runs parallel to the existing runway.
Civil works are being undertaken by contractor Duros Development Corporation and its partner China Construction First Group Corporation. They submitted the lower bid of P2.078 billion for the project, which had an approved budget cost of P2.99 billion.
Neri said the completion of the second runway would not double the airport’s capacity because the two runways cannot be used simultaneously, but he said they were hoping to increase air traffic volume by around 30%.
He said the runway is being built in anticipation of “a tourism explosion” as people start to live with COVID instead of living in fear.
The project is separate from the second runway proposed by airport passenger terminal operator GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation.
Meanwhile, Neri said they hoped to complete the upgrading of the Bantayan airport in May 2022.
The runway is being widened to 30 meters from the current 18 meters and the tarmac is being expanded to accommodate more aircraft.
The Camotes airport, on the other hand, will be finished by June 2022. Neri said they target to begin Phase 2, which involves the construction of the passenger terminal building and other facilities, in the second half of 2022.
Both Bantayan and Camotes are among Cebu’s most popular tourist destinations.
The planned airport in Medellin town, meanwhile, will be built to support the local government officials’ plan to establish a special economic zone in the town.
“We have already inspected the site and we have already aligned the proposed runway with the wind conditions,” Neri said. (Ventures Cebu)