Cebu airport safe — officials
MANILA, Philippines - Authorities declared the existing facilities at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport safe after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Central Visayas on October 15.
This was according to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) which said in a statement on Friday, October 18, that the structural integrity of the existing passenger terminal building has been assessed.
The Cebu airport — the country's second busiest gateway next to the Manila airport — was closed for about 4 hours after the earthquake struck Cebu, Bohol and nearby provinces. (VIEW: Bohol, Cebu structures before and after #EarthquakePH; READ: Heartbreaking: 10 iconic churches in Bohol, Cebu damaged)
“No major damages were detected, as minor damages such as cracks were non-structural in nature. Passenger and cargo processing were returned to the PTB from separate buildings by around noon of the same day,” MCIAA wrote. (READ: Quake impact on Cebu, Bohol airports 'minimal')
Operations are back to normal, 24/7 since October 16, it announced.
It also dispelled rumors that the runway was badly damaged, prompting the closure of the airport.
The state airport regulator explained that the runway was closed for only 20 minutes right after the earthquake in order to allow the Runway Inspection Team to conduct an immediate technical inspection of the runway and taxiway integrity.
"Having been found to be safe, the runway was reopened for flight operations," it said.
The government is bidding out the airport terminal expansion project meant to address the congestion in the Cebu facility.
The country's biggest business groups and their foreign partners are vying for the P17.5 billion project, which involves the construction of a new passenger terminal building and the expansion of the existing terminal.
Submission of project bids has been re-scheduled for November 15 after the government improved the commercial viability of the project by shouldering the payment of certain real property taxes as well as the longer concession period of 25 years instead of 20 years.
The planned new Cebu airport terminal will have a capacity of around 8 million passengers per year. The airport's existing terminal has a capacity of 4.5 million passengers per year. READ AND WATCH: Cebu airport expansion comes late
The airport sits on a 797-hectare property, and has a single 3,300-meter runway and a full-length taxiway. - Rappler.com