Thursday, July 18

Transformed Sibu Airport surprises crowd

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NEW SECTION: Passengers now check in at the new counters.

Jane Moh, [email protected]: For the past year or so, Sibu Airport has gone through some major physical changes considered by many here as timely.

Many Sibuans arriving here, who have not returned home for a few years, find the renovated building unrecognisable, especially with all the construction work going on.

A student surnamed Ling said she was surprised to see the major transformation of the airport.

SAFE ARRIVAL: Passengers seen arriving at the Sibu Airport.

“The last time I came back was a few years ago and there was no construction at that time.

“In just a few years, so much had changed and I believed it is for the good of all,” she said.

According to Ling, her sister informed her about the renovation before she returned here.

However, she did not expect to see such a major transformation upon her arrival at the airport.

“It feels like a marketplace. It’s hot and dusty, no doubt about it,” she said.

A teacher surnamed Yii said she was surprised to see the construction going on at the airport.

“I settled in Perak with my husband and three children and I come home for Chinese New Year once every two years.

“The last time I came home, the construction was already on going, but it was not like this,” she said.

Yii said the construction had caused some difficulty and inconvenience but understood it was expected.

“It’s not always I come back to Sibu, so I would normally spend a longer time here and besides, it is school holidays, so the kids can see their grandparents as well,” she pointed out.

Many praised the check-in counters section as beautiful and were proud that the airport had finally improved.

A visitor at the airort commented that he was happy about not having to wait in the heat anymore and that there were no more long queues.

Meanwhile, airport project manager Felix Su said package one was 68.36 per cent completed while package two was 54.25 per cent completed.

“Everything is ahead of schedule, so we are very confident that the people here will see the completed airport before September,” he said.

Even so Su revealed that the arrival hall that was supposed to be completed this month could not be ready in time due to the New Year celebrations.

As for the check-in counters, he said everything was running smoothly.

“We temporarily opened two stores at the check-in counters section but once the whole airport is completed, the stores would move back to the existing terminal,” he pointed out.

The managing director of Sazhong Trading and Travel Service Bhd, Frankie Ting said the number of people coming home for Chinese New Year is less this year.

He reckoned this was because most of the younger generation of Sibuans had bought houses outside the town.

“Some would come back for the festive season because their parents are still here, and some would invite their parents to stay with them at their new houses so there is no point of coming back here again.

“The most important thing about the Chinese New Year is the New Year gathering, isn’t it?” he said.

According to him, this exodus was due to stagnant job opportunities causing many to move to bigger cities to survive some 10 to 15 years ago.

To avoid this from happening in the future, he believed the government would need to come up with something to retain the people here.

On a positive note, he believed with the implementation of Sarawak Corridor Of Renewable Energy (SCORE), Sibu would definitely be a gateway to the central region.

Being an important gateway, Sibu airport would soon play a very important role in connecting the central region to the outside world.

For Ting, he sees Sibu Airport as a basic infrastructure that should be upgraded to cater to the arrival of foreigners especially SCORE investors.

“Accessibility between these two places is very important. The extension of Sibu Airport means that we are preparing ourselves for the future and it is the correct move,” he pointed out.