Ravishankar Saravu, Chief Commercial Adviser for GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, and Christina Angan, Deputy Chief Commercial Officer.

Welcome to an airport
that feels like a resort

Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is run by GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, a partnership between GMR Infrastructure of India and Megawide Construction Corporation of the Philippines. The consortium has been formed to manage and develop the airport for the next 25 years, winning the hotly contested contract in 2014 under the Philippine government's Public Private Partnership programme.

The airport is the gateway to the beautiful Visayas and Mindanao island regions in the Philippines. It is the second-busiest airport in the Philippines and caters to a rapidly growing passenger traffic base comprising a mix of tourists and business travellers.

But it’s one nationality that has the airport operator, and its concessionaires, most excited – the Chinese. According to GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation Chief Commercial Adviser Ravishankar Saravu, just four years ago there were almost no Chinese passengers at Cebu, and no direct flight connections.

Today, the Chinese represent around 15% of the 3.8 million (in 2018) international passengers (Koreans lead the way with 30% and the Japanese also represent 15% – a heady passenger profile from a retailer’s perspective). In spending terms, the Chinese share is much higher, (the best ATV by far and almost on par in total sales with the Koreans).

A striking external panorama of the new terminal’s magnificent architecture, dominated by wooden and metal structures with abundant glass that allows natural light to illuminate the interior.

Saravu is understandably proud of the job the Indian-Filipino alliance has done here. The new Terminal 2 is surely one of Asia’s most beautiful, while its efficiency has also won many plaudits. An official airport video (below) begins with the words, ‘Welcome to an airport that feels like a resort’ and continues, ‘It’s not just a gateway, it’s a destination’. And beyond the destination of the airport walls lie a myriad of other attractions. “Our tourists say love is a four-letter island,” as the promotional video neatly puts it.

With House of Representatives approval for a second runway just granted in April and an imminent refurbishment of the old Terminal 1, all is set fair for a boom period in the airport’s history.

The airport’s 50-year master plan targets capacity of 50 million passengers per annum, over five times the current traffic. Tourism infrastructure on Cebu Island and the surrounding province and region is improving fast, meaning more Chinese, Korean and Japanese visitors will be encouraged to take the relatively short flights.

Typifying the level of investment that is pouring into Cebu, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu, a luxury resort located on the northwestern tip of Mactan island in Barangay Punta Engaño, recently opened its doors. More similar properties are sure to follow and with them, even greater traffic growth for Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

The Moodie Davitt Report Chairman Martin Moodie hears of the airport’s exciting plans from Ravishankar Saravu and Christina Angan.

A Moodie Davitt Report publication | Philippines Travel Retail