How the ‘most beautiful airport’ in Philippines came to be

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Inside the new Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. (photo from the DOTr and Build, Build, Build Program social media)

The stunning interior of the soon-to-open Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 has been revealed to the world.

What has been dubbed as the “most beautiful airport in the country” has also been marketed as one of the crown jewels of the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program.

‘Most beautiful in the country’

At the recent inauguration, President Rodrigo Duterte dubbed the terminal as the “most beautiful airport in the country” and congratulated Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade for overseeing its completion.

According to the Department of Transportation, the project was at 16 percent completion when the Duterte administration took over the hub’s construction.

Under the Duterte administration’s “Build Build Build” Program, construction of what was originally envisioned as the world’s first “resort airport” was fast-tracked, according to the DOTr’s statement.

Major airline companies are planning to expand operations to the newly-opened terminal.

The expansion seeks to cater to at least 12.5 million travelers annually.

Photos of the interior of the MCIA. (Photos from DOTr and Build, Build, Build social media)

Some who witnessed the hyped splendor first hand shared their experience.

But amid the collective jubilation are those questioning which administration deserves credit for making the “most beautiful airport in the country” possible.

Conceptualization of Terminal 2 began during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

In 2015, a consortium was formed by Philippine engineering firm Megawide and the GMR Group an infrastructure firm based in India with experience in airport development.

The GMR-Megawide Airport Corporation has over seen the construction of the new terminal since then.

Among the improvements initially targeted by the GMCAC were more spacious check-in counters, enhanced automated baggage handling systems, convenient airport lounges, and more parking facilities.

The initial planning also took aesthetic appeal into consideration. Renowned interior and furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue was tapped to help in the interior design, while fashion designer Cary Santiago was tapped to design the uniform of personnel.

The version of Terminal 2 that has been completed has 3,000 square meters of space for commercial use, 48 check-in counters and 12 boarding bridges.

Completion of the new terminal, envisioned to be one of the friendliest airports in the world, comes the same year as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was named as one of the Ten Most Improved Airports in the world after years of being dubbed as the worst in the industry.