CEBU CITY – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday expressed optimism on the current developments at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) after leading the inauguration of the new PHP222-million taxiway at the country’s second-busiest air hub.
“The new taxiway will increase the capacity of MCIA to accommodate more aircraft, from 35 to 50 movements per hour, including wide-bodied aircraft,” Tugade said during the inauguration at the MCIA in Lapu-Lapu City.
He said the taxiway is a “big help” in boosting the airport’s operations while the parallel runway is still under construction, giving MCIA the edge to become “world-class and competitive.”
Tugade said the extended taxiway is expected to increase passenger traffic and aircraft movement in the general aviation area of the country’s second-busiest air hub. This will also accommodate wide-body aircraft in preparation for future expansions.
Around 60 jobs were generated during the construction of the taxiway, and “more employment opportunities are expected as a result of the expected increase in the number of aircraft using the new taxiway,” he said.
Aside from the taxiway, the DOTr chief also led the inauguration of the new administration building of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) located within the airport’s complex.
Tugade said the building that houses various facilities of the agency will enable the personnel to extend efficient service and further provide comfort to its stakeholders.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, who was among the other government officials present in the event, emphasized MCIA’s major role in the country’s travel and transportation system that impacts the economy, with “Cebu’s stature as a major tourist and investment destination”.
“In fact, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country that resulted in travel restrictions and quarantine protocols, Cebu was bustling with foreign and domestic tourists, driving the economic growth substantially,” he said.
In 2019, an estimated 4.3 million tourists visited Cebu, generating investments and creating employment for hundreds of thousands of Cebuanos, including those in the countryside.
The pandemic, Dino pointed out, has severely affected the economy of Cebu as with the rest of the country.
“But together with our national and local leaders, we are now looking towards recovery and the gradual reopening of the province to more tourists,” he said, citing the efforts of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who has led the island’s economic reopening.
Cebu accounts for the bulk of Central Visayas’ economy. The region registered a high unemployment rate of 16.7 percent in the second quarter of 2020 when the enhanced community quarantine was put in place. The unemployment rate dropped considerably to only 7 percent in the first quarter of 2021.
Also, power and petroleum consumption of the industries picked up in the third and fourth quarter of 2020 as businesses resumed operation.
The respondents of a business expectation survey conducted in Central Visayas showed upbeat business confidence this year, according to Dino.
“Moving forward, we are expecting more domestic and international flights to come to Cebu once we’ve overcome this health crisis. Thus, the timely completion of the parallel taxiway would boost the efforts of making the MCIA a major regional hub. It will prove useful in optimizing arrival and departure of aircraft which we expect to increase over time,” he noted.
He said the Duterte government’s “Build, Build, Build” program has further boosted the country’s airport infrastructure.
Under the leadership of Tugade, DOTr and CAAP have completed 121 airport projects, including the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, the country’s first eco-friendly airport, and the award-winning MCIA. (PNA)
Credit belongs to : www.pna.gov.ph