Upgrade Brunei airport to give tourists positive image
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
FACILITIES and services at the Brunei International Airport must be improved and upgraded, otherwise they will adversely affect foreigners' perception of the sultanate, said Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin.
The non-governmental member of the State Legislative Council said that the airport presents an image of Brunei to those who arrive and leave from there, and as such can affect tourists' impression of the country.
Foreigners could be seen experiencing long queues at the immigration counter, he said in his adjournment speech of this session's State Legislative Council sitting yesterday.
He also highlighted the problem of luggage inspection at the airport, adding there should be a green channel for luggage that do not need inspection.
This would save time for passengers to exit the arrival hall quickly, he added.
"A lot of people are asking, 'Why is it that passengers are still required to complete the health application forms?"' said Pehin Goh. "It is no longer needed as currently there are no reported cases of Sars."
He said that the arrival hall should be air-conditioned and seats made available to raise the level of passengers' comfort.
In addition, the airport's public toilets should be regularly cleaned and if possible, more toilets added for passengers' convenience, especially in view of the increasing numbers.
He also stressed the importance of changing mindsets in producing positive results for the country, which was previously stated by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei.
"With the current conditions of the airport, it is obvious that we face constraints to make changes or improve the existing facilities," the Minister of Communications said in response.
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong admitted that the international airport is the first location which welcomes the arrival of tourists and foreigners to the country.
"We also know that the Brunei International Airport has existed for over 24 years. It was built in 1974, expanded in 1985 and 1999," he said.
He said that the Civil Aviation Department is constantly making efforts towards improving and upgrading the facilities to meet the customers' needs at the airport.
Authorities in charge of the international airport will continue to improve the conditions of the current airport, including the public toilets, and long queues facing foreigners at the immigration counter, Pehin Dato Hj Abu Bakar said.
"In fact, this airport has already achieved the capacity target of 1.5 million passengers," he said.
In October last year, the government carried out the Airport Master Plan to study the possibility of expanding the international airport to accommodate a total capacity of 4.5 million passengers by 2024.
"Hopefully this study will be completed by August this year," he said, adding that consultants recruited for this study will share and discuss the findings with the relevant stakeholders.
The Brunei Times