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For folks in Limbang, 15 July 2004 was a significant date for
those who get the traveling bugs now and then. The day was special because of
the introduction of the twice-daily Miri-Limbang Fokker F50 flights by Malaysian
|The 1,500 m runway to accommodate
Fokker F50 aircrafts
During the official opening of the new Limbang Airport that day, the inaugural
Fokker F50 flight, MH2480, departed Miri at 8:20am and arrived in Limbang at 8:45am.
This is the second Fokker F50 service introduced into MAS rural air services network
after a similar upgrade to its flights between Miri and Mulu in October 2003.
The new airport is the pride and joy of Limbang, and a long cherished dream of
the residents there who have been traveling in smaller aircrafts such as the six-seater
Cessna, Norman Islander, Twin Pioneer and Twin Otter since the first Limbang Airport
at Jalan Pandaruan, 5 km from Limbang Town, was built in 1963 by the British Army
and later taken over by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to handle the commercial
flights of Malaysia-Singapore Airways Company (MSA) in 1964.
Background of Project
|The information counter is located at main entrance of
the new airport
Limbang Town, being an administrative and trade centre for the North-Eastern region
of Sarawak, requires efficient transportation facilities, and due to its geographical
location, air travel becomes important. At present, travel by land and water involves
the need to cross Brunei. In addition, the runway at the old Limbang Airport could
not be extended further to allow for bigger aircrafts to land safely.
In view of the above constraints and the confidence that passenger growth and
demand will increase in the area, the Federal Government decided in the late 1970
to find a new site to construct a new Limbang Airport. A consultant firm was appointed
in 1978 to undertake the Master Plan Study and to recommend to the government
a suitable site for the new airport. The study was completed in late 1979. The
recommendation of the Consultant was to build an airport to cater for Fokker F27
(now replaced by F50) at a site approximately 13km South-West of Limbang Town.
A preliminary design for the selected site was undertaken by the Consultant, which
was completed in 1981. In view, however, of budget constraints during the Fourth
and Fifth Malaysia Plan, the project was temporary shelved, and a detailed design
was not carried out.
Following the mid-term review of the Sixth Malaysia Plan, the project was reinstated
with an initial sum of RM8.6 million. Another consultant firm was appointed in
1994 to undertake the detailed design of the new airport. Before the Consultant
firm could proceed further, the state government raised some concerns on the site
Revised New Airport Site
Following the objection to the original site, the state government came up with
a new proposed site at Rangau, which is approximately 6 km due North of Limbang
Town. The site is accessible by road vide Jalan Tujuh Batu Keliling from Limbang
Town. A preliminary study was carried out by the Public Works Department (JKR)
and DCA, and the new site was found to be suitable for the construction of a Fokker
F50 airport. A land area of 263.635 hectares was then acquired for the airport,
and Mujatra Bhd from Kuching was appointed as the contractor. The government handed
over the site to the contractor on 6 September 2000.
Capacity of New Limbang Airport
|Terminal building of the airport
The spanking new Limbang Airport could handle up to 250,000 passengers annually.
The main terminal building has 1,732.22 sq m of floor space with a 1,500 m runway
and an apron that is capable of accommodation two Fokker F50s and one Twin Otter
at any one time. Two baggage carousels have been installed at the arrival hall
to handle the multitude of passenger luggage. Amenities such as toilets, a surau,
canteen and facilities for the disabled are also available. The new airport could
handle an average of two Fokker F50 flights and four Twin Otter flights per day.
Other general aviation agencies like Hornbill Skyways and Layang-Layang Aerospace
are also using the airport on an ad-hoc basis. From Limbang, passengers could
fly to Miri, Lawas and Kota Kinabalu.