Monday, September 17, 2012

Sibu Airport can spur socio-economic development

SIBU: The government went ahead with the extension and upgrading of Sibu Airport at a cost of RM136.9 million as it had anticipated a significant surge in passenger volume by 2020.

The bigger airport, which was declared opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday, can handle two million passengers per annum, compared to only 700,000 passengers before expansion and upgrading work started.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said service could be expected to be more efficient as it could handle 900 passengers per hour during peak periods.

“The extension and upgrading were prompted by a surge in passenger volume since 2008.

“Based on statistics, the airport handled a total of  830,000 passengers in 2008, and increased to 1.13 million in 2011.”

Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Chief Minister Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud and wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Patinggi Alfred Jabu Numpang and State Secretary Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani were among those present.

For the first eight months of this year, Sibu Airport handled 781,079 passengers compared to 727,097 during corresponding period last year, representing a 4 percent increase in passengers.

It now handles 44 flights per day linking Sibu with Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Miri, Kota Kinabalu, Bintulu and Johor Bahru.

“I believe this new airport would act as a catalyst for socio-economic developments in Sibu and central region in general in line with the government’s aspirations to bring benefits to the people.”