MCIA: Country’s First Smart Airport to Open a Mall and Hotel

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The MCIA will expand with upcoming commercial and retail establishments.

The country’s second busiest airport is about to get even busier. 

Management of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is revisiting their initial long-term plans of expanding the airport by building more infrastructure.

Their main plans include constructing a shopping mall and hotel inside the airport to offer more accommodation and convenience for tourists arriving in Cebu. 

This comes as the country fully recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sunstar Cebu reports that the island is expecting 7.7 million international visitors in 2024. 


These plans will be shouldered by the MCIA’s new contractor, the Aboitiz GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation under Aboitiz InfraCapital. They will assume full management of the MCIA in October. 

This is their first foray into the airport business, previously constructing water and waste management systems.   

The company, which is also connected to the Aboitiz Corporation, is planning to invest billions in the MCIA in the next five to 15 years (2024).

Rafael Aboitiz, Head of Airports at Aboitiz InfraCapital, mentioned to reporters at a public event that the hotel and mall will be a big contributing factor to the expansion of the airport. He also mentioned plans to expand the terminals and aprons. 

Aboitiz emphasized that when it comes to a location like the Cebu airport, they should not only invest in the terminals, but also in its surrounding infrastructure. 

The MCIA may soon be the gateway to Visayas and Mindanao and become more of a travel and lifestyle destination by investing in commercial and retail projects (2024). 

The mall, which is located right beside the arrivals area of Terminal 2, is currently being constructed. 

Additionally, the development project will reportedly include several recreational establishments like a casino. 


Aboitiz plans to make the MCIA the first smart airport in the Philippines and a premier transit hub in Southeast Asia (2024).  

Smart airports use intelligent technology like sensors and devices for specific purposes to control and manage their operations and create a centralized digital environment.  

The new contractors will explore advanced technologies of data innovation, data science, and even artificial intelligence to create a better exprience for travelers. 

Subsequently, the MCIA unveiled Cebu Connect, a transfer facility to make connecting flights less of a hassle by reducing layover times by around 30 minutes or less. 

Passengers arriving at the MCIA can proceed to the transfer deck of the designated counter of their airline. Once their boarding passes are printed, they can proceed directly to the departure area. 

Domestic transfers will take an hour at a minimum, while international connecting flights require 90 minutes. 

There are a total of eight counters, all operating 24/7 that can serve up to 12 hours before the next flight. They are all equipped with X-rays and storage facilities to ensure your baggage is safe. 

The Freeman reports that the MCIA can currently house a total of 16 million passengers in both the Domestic and International Terminals. The MCIA links Cebu to a total of 29 domestic and 12 international destinations. 


Erram, Morexette Marie B. 2024. “Mactan-Cebu Airport eyes to build mall, hotel as long-term investment.” CDN Digital.

Cacho-Laurejas, Kathlene O. 2024. “Aboitiz Infra to revisit plans to build mall, hotel at MCIA.” Sunstar Cebu.

Dagooc, Ehda M. 2024. “Mall and hotel eyed as part of MCIA development plan.” The Freeman.

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