Chinese airlines increasing flights to Cebu


BusinessWorld Online

CHINESE AIRLINES are expanding its operations at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) with new routes and flights set to commence starting this month, the operator of the country’s second busiest gateway said.

GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), the joint venture of listed builder Megawide Construction Corp. and its partner, Bangalore-based airport operator GMR Infrastructure Ltd., said China’s flag carrier Air China will launch a “daily service” Cebu to Beijing flights starting March 26.

“Air China will start operations from Mactan Cebu, they’re just waiting for confirmation of slots... It’s the national carrier so it’s a big thing... They have been wanting to fly because of demand,” Andrew Acquaah Harrison, GMR-Megawide chief executive adviser, told reporters in a briefing late last night.

In a separate statement, GMCAC said Sichuan Airlines, a regional airline based in Chengdu, will launch four times weekly flight from Cebu to Chongqing, the largest municipality in southwest China by March 2017 starting as a chartered flight.

Xiamen Airlines, which has existing Xiamen- Cebu flights, will add twice weekly Cebu-Fuzhou flights and Cebu-Jinjiang starting April 2017.

Data from the Department of Tourism showed that Chinese tourist arrivals in the country rose 20.43% in December 2016, ranking 3rd with 45,336 arrivals.

By port of entry, DoT said 17.37% of arrivals that month or 100,140 visitors came through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

For the next two years, GMR-Megawide earlier said they are planning to introduce new routes that connect Cebu to Australia, Europe and other Southeast Asian countries, as well as expand routes to China, Japan and South Korea.

GMCAC announced it is aiming to reach 10 million passenger arrivals at the MCIA by the end 2017, a 12% increase from the 8.9 million recorded in 2016.

The joint venture, which won the contract in April 2014 for the P17.52-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, said it is scheduled to open by June 2018 the Terminal 2 which will boost the MCIA’s capacity to 12.5 million passengers. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin