Tuesday, September 17

Air travellers to Sibu to pass 1 million mark by next year

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SIBU: The number of travellers passing through Sibu Airport is expected to exceed one million by next year, thus necessitating an upgrading of the airport.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said yesterday, the current airport could only accommodate up to one million passengers annually.

Thus far this year, it had achieved a passenger growth of 11.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Kong said for the first nine months of this year, about 758,000 passengers had used the Sibu Airport.

He anticipated the number to exceed 800,000 by year end.

“We predict that by 2011, the number of passengers passing through the airport would surpass the one million mark. For that reason, we need to upgrade the airport,” he told a press conference after an earth-breaking ceremony for the upgrading of Sibu Airport.

The project, which costs RM136 million, is divided into two packages.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Kong revealed that the extension and upgrading works covering the landside involved expansion of terminal building, utility centre and other related works.

Elaborating on the landside works, he said the upgrading works would see an expansion of the terminal building from 8,040 sq metres to 15,240 sq metres.

The passenger boarding bridges would be increased from two to four.

The minister explained that expansion of the terminal building also meant having two units of baggage handling system and an additional 18 check-in counters from the existing eight.

He assured that the terminal would have a centralised air-conditioning system.

On the airside, he said, this covered upgrading works on facilities at the plane parking bays.

There would also be an extension and upgrading of DCA management building, road construction and the extension of car parking lots from the present 300 lots to 500 lots.

The airport’s extension and upgrading works are expected to be completed by mid-September 2012.

Among those present were Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Assistant Minister of Housing and Urban Development Datuk Dr Soon Choon Teck, Nangka assemblyman Datuk Awang Bemee Awang Ali Basah, Lanang MP Datuk Tiong Thai King, Jemoreng assemblyman Abu Seman Jahwie and heads of government departments.