Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific is bullish on government’s plan to modernize and expand the Mactan-Cebu International Airport as it looks forward to continue offering low fares to more travelers.
Based on the government’s blueprint, the P17.5-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion project aims to modernize the Philippines’ second largest aviation hub.
Once completed, the expansion will increase the airport’s annual capacity to eight million passengers per year from its current capacity of 4.5 million passengers per year.
In a statement, lawyer Jorenz Tanada, Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs, said, “We welcome the expansion of the Mactan International airport. Cebu is a very important hub for us.”
“CEB has been operating flights at the Mactan airport since 1996. We are reviewing our network plans out of Cebu and we look forward to offering CEB’s low fares to even more travelers,” he added
The airline currently operates 27 routes from Cebu to other domestic and international destinations.
Last year, the Gokongwei-led carrier said that about 3.33 million passengers flew from its Cebu hub. In the second quarter this year, Cebu Pacific posted a 14.75-percent year-on-year growth in passengers from the hub.
In the first half of 2014, CEB passengers in the Cebu hub increased to 1.9 million from 1.7 million passengers in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, CEB is set to start flying non-stop, direct flights from Manila to Riyadh on October 1, and to Dammam on October 4, this year. The airline also started flying non-stop from Manila to Sydney on September 9.
Cebu Pacific’s 51-strong fleet is comprised of 10 Airbus A319s, 28 Airbus A320s, five Airbus A330s and eight ATR-72 500 aircraft. It is one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world.
Between 2014 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 11 more brand-new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and one Airbus A330 aircraft.
On Thursday, the Department of Transportation and Communications showed in its presentation at the UK Transport Solutions business forum that it is planning to modernize and upgrade 49 airports at a total cost of P109.63 billion.
“Our airport progress is obviously to expand and modernize our key international gateways, that is, NAIA [Ninoy Aquino International Airport], Mactan-Cebu, Davao and Clark,” Rene Limcaoco, DOTC undersecretary for planning and infrastructure projects, said during his presentation.
DOTC also said that the whole program is envisioned to bring the Philippine aviation sector into the jet age.
“A lot of our airports were built in the 1960s and have been built to accommodate turbo props and, as you know, the cost of operating a turbo prop is 50 percent higher than jets, which are obstacles to lower fares which is a necessary precursor to an expanded aviation industry,” Limcaoco said.