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MEZ relocation ‘best strategy’ for 2nd runway project

This is the walkway towards the Terminal 2 at the Mactan Cebu International Airport. To cope with passenger traffic growth, a second runway and a third terminal building are being proposed. (Ventures Cebu)

The relocation of all 150 companies at the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) is the “most viable solution” and the “best strategy” for the construction of the planned second runway at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), an official said.

The proposal is to move, with “minimal disruption”, the MEZ locators to a proposed reclamation area that will be developed into a “smart city” with direct access to a cargo terminal at the airport.

This new MEZ home would have shared services infrastructure and renewable resources that would enable the locators to save on operational costs.

Steve Dicdican, general manager of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), said this would be “a win-win solution that will bolster local economic activity even far beyond the economic zone.”

"Our proposed new home for MEZ-1 will be a 'smart city', boasting (of) state-of-the-art facilities that will maximize the capacity for production of companies especially those in the information technology industry,” Dicdican said in a statement issued on September 18, 2019.

He said they “looked at all the angles and all the scenarios” and decided that relocating most of the MEZ facilities would be the best course of action to pave for the construction of another runway parallel to the first.

The government-run ecozone occupies about 119 hectares in Lapu-Lapu City, next to the airport. Of the total land area, 86 hectares are owned by MCIAA.

Dicdican assured that the MCIAA will consider and try to address the concerns of the MEZ locators.

He pointed out that they should have enough time to prepare for their relocation with minimal disruption because the reclamation project and the second runway would take 7 to 10 years to complete.

“While we will take into consideration and attempt to address all the concerns of the stakeholders, we have to make necessary sacrifices to sustain our long-term prospects and promote the greater good of the Cebuanos. We have looked at all the angles and all the scenarios. The relocation of MEZ-1 remains the most viable solution for all involved and the best implementation strategy for the 2nd runway,” Dicdican said.

Mactan Airport's proposed 50-year development plan

The reclamation project and second runway are components of the 50-year integrated development plan for the airport, which was proposed by airport terminal operator GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) on June 7, 2017.

This unsolicited proposal, which is estimated to cost P208 billion, is undergoing evaluation by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).

GMCAC was granted original proponent status (OPS) for the project in 2018. If the project is approved by NEDA ICC, a Swiss challenge will be held to invite other companies to challenge GMCAC’s proposal.

With an OPS, GMCAC would have the right to match any competing bid.

GMCAC is currently undertaking the P17.5-billion upgrading project of MCIA, the first airport public-private partnership project in the country.

GMCAC’s 25-year concession agreement, however, includes only the construction of the second terminal and renovation or upgrading of the first terminal, among others.

It does not include the operation, maintenance and improvement of the runway and other airside facilities, which currently remain with the MCIAA.

GMCAC unsolicited proposal

Under its proposed 50-year development plan, GMCAC will take over the airside facilities, rehabilitate the existing runway and taxiways, construct a second runway and parallel taxiway, and build a third passenger terminal.

Construction of a second runway will address congestion and ensure that the airport would be able to cope with passenger traffic growth.

With a second runway and third passenger terminal building, MCIA’s annual passenger capacity would increase to 50 million from the current 12.5 million.

Passenger traffic at the MCIA reached 11.37 million in 2018, an increase of about 18% from 9.59 million in 2017.

In the first half of 2019, passenger traffic went up by 10% to 6.4 million.

Related story: Mactan Airport seen to sustain growth

Air traffic volume likewise increased by 15% in 2018, with international traffic up by 19% and domestic traffic improving 14%.

In the first half of 2019, air traffic volume increased by 5%, with international traffic posting the higher growth rate of 11% and domestic traffic going up by 3%.

Related story: Steady rise in passenger, air traffic volume at Mactan Airport noted

In its proposal, GMCAC said in a statement in 2017 that it will undertake the 50-year masterplan for the airport in three phases:

  1. Shortly upon taking over the airside facilities, GMCAC will undertake (a) the rehabilitation of MCIA’s existing runway and taxiways; (b) construction of an additional full length parallel taxiway that can act as an emergency runway; and (c) development of additional rapid exit taxiways and runway holding positions, all of which will improve the efficiency of aircraft movements;

  2. Construction of a second parallel and independent runway which will significantly increase airside capacity; and

  3. Construction of a third terminal to accommodate all the additional passengers. (Ventures Cebu)

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