GMR MEGAWIDE Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), the private operator of Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), expects domestic flight traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter.
“While we expect to return to pre-pandemic numbers (for domestic) by the fourth quarter this year, it still also depends on how quickly international traffic also resumes in Cebu and other airports such as Manila, Clark and Davao,” GMCAC said in a statement to BusinessWorld on Monday.
According to the company, 25% of its domestic traffic is connecting feeder traffic to and from international flights.
“We are working closely with airlines and regulators to support the steady return of traffic to Cebu at the soonest possible time,” it noted.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority said aircraft traffic, both domestic and international, surged 174% to 20,551 in the first half of 2022 from 7,489 in the same period last year.
GMCAC said the percentage of domestic flights at MCIA has already returned to 70%.
“International traffic, which has ramped up since May, is expected to achieve its pre-pandemic levels by end of the second quarter of 2023,” the company said in a separate statement.
More Korean airlines have resumed their direct flights to Korea from MCIA after over two years of economic downturn due to the pandemic, the company noted.
“The return of direct flights to Korea, apart from other international destinations, is a positive signal for the recovery of the travel and aviation sector,” said GMCAC President Louie B. Ferrer.
“Korea comprised our main international traffic pre-pandemic, followed by other ASEAN countries. We are very glad to welcome them back to Cebu and assist the return of tourism in the region,” he added.
Daily flights to Incheon, according to GMCAC, are operated by Korean Air, Jin Air, T’way and Jeju Air, while flights to Busan are operated by Jin Air and Air Busan.
Local budget carrier Cebu Pacific Air also operates flights from Cebu to Incheon.
GMCAC, a joint venture of Megawide Construction Corp. and Indian infrastructure company GMR Group, took over the development of the airport’s landside facilities in 2014 under a 25-year public-private partnership concession agreement with the government. — Arjay L. Balinbin