By Azlan Othman
A 25-year master plan has been initiated that will see the transformation of the Brunei International Airport and making it the air hub for the BIMP-EAGA region.Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
Responding to the increasing number of passengers, flights and cargo, the Brunei International Airport landscape will be transformed with the preparation of a master plan for the airport's phased development, which is technically and financially feasible, through year 2031, said the Director of Civil Aviation, Pg. Hj Abdul Rahman bin PSI Pg Hj Ismail.
This is timely when another new airline will come to Brunei later this year while Air Asia is expected to increase its frequency to Brunei by operating from other Malaysian cities to Bandar Seri Begawan (besides the present Kuala Lumpur-BSB route). Currently five airlines operate into Brunei.
Pg. Hj Abdul Rahman said this while addressing over 100 consultants, tenders, computer vendors, architectural firms on airport national development plan projects at the Civil Service Institute in Rimba yesterday.
In addition, 1.3 million passengers were recorded last year and the airport already faces congestion during peak hours. Hence a need to expand the facility. The new airport should be able to cater to 12 aircraft movements in 2020 compared to the present six flights departing and arriving during peak hours.
He said His Majesty's Government has given approval to the Department of Civil Aviation to implement a number of projects under the Airport National Development Plan.
"One of the projects under consultancy services is a master planning study to develop a Brunei International Airport Master Plan. The principal objective of the study is to produce a workable programme of priority improvements needed for the airport, and to prepare a master plan for the airport's phased development, which is technically and financially feasible, through the year 2031."
"The eventual implementation of the master plan would change the airport landscape so as to support the vision to make Brunei International Airport as the air hub for the BIMP-EAGA region," Pg. Hj Abdul Rahman said.
In this regard, he said, they are looking for a consortium of consultants able to prepare a master plan and come up with a conceptual design so as to transform the airport especially the passenger and cargo terminals in line with Brunei's airport development strategies namely Airline Hub, Cargo Village and Airport City.
"Upon implementation of the master plan, we expect the passenger terminal to be an innovative and contemporary state of the art facility with effective functional layout incorporating world-class functional design and technological developments for the comfort of passengers, visitors, public and airport workers and enable safe, secure and efficient handling of passengers, baggage and aircraft, a commercially successful facility that provides the right mix of business activities for the enjoyable travel experience for passengers and visitors alike - and which has its own uniqueness."
Yesterday's presentation is to inform interested parties of airport national development plan projects that will be tendered out in the next three months, to give sufficient time for potential bidders to look for their foreign partners before tender opens, to enable government to get competitive bids and to inform potential bidders on the project implementation.
Pg. Hj Abdul Rahman also said the master plan takes into account customer needs, must have a distinctive faade look, commercially successful facility, air traffic focus, examine deficiencies at the passenger and cargo terminals, business and economic strategies (with a plan to be self-financing a self-functioning airport in the future), five-year investment plan, feasibility analysis with costing of alternatives.
He also asked the consultant concerning cost estimation, whether it is expensive to build a new airport rather than expanding it. He also said that the existing airport is quite limited for expansion and this poses a challenge to the consultants.
With operations beginning in 1974 to accommodate the popularity of air travel in the 1970s, the Brunei International Airport has undergone several major facelifts since its opening. It was upgraded in the mid 1980's and later in 2000 to handle more than 2 million passengers and 50,000 tonnes of cargo every year.