PASSENGER and cargo volumes at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) are expected to further grow in the second quarter amid relaxed mobility restrictions and the election period, Megawide Construction Corp. said.

“With relaxed travel restrictions locally and globally and campaign/election period in May, we expect the numbers to improve in Q2 (second quarter),” Megawide said in a statement in response to a BusinessWorld query.

MCIA is operated by GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., a joint venture of Megawide and Indian infrastructure company GMR Group.

Data from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) showed passenger traffic at the airport surged by 185% to 354,420 in the first two months of 2022 from 124,484 in the same period last year.

Cargo volume grew by 11% to 9.14 million kilograms (kg) in the January-to-February period from 8.20 million kg in the same period in 2021.

“Pre-pandemic, MCIA provided half of EBITDA (or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and net income to Megawide. The improved performance should augur well for airport’s 1Q2022 performance,” Megawide said.

“The recovery of traffic is more related to the easing of travel-related restrictions, and the surge in demand both in country and overseas shows a pent-up demand for travel is driving airline bookings. A higher vaccination rate and a fall in new case numbers are helping to boost consumer demand for travel,” it added.

Asked if the airport is hiring more workers now that the number of passengers is increasing, the company said: “Our resource level is suitably equipped to manage the current traffic as well as growth traffic for some time to come as we have evolved into a leaner, more agile and multi-tasked organization.”

Megawide’s attributable net loss for the first nine months of 2021 was reduced to P80.80 million from P610.79 million in the same period a year earlier.

The company attributed the improvement to normalizing operations of its existing projects and the start of newly awarded projects. — Arjay L. Balinbin