The Brunei International Airport is 217th out of 450 airports on the Skytrax World Airport Ranking, said Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Shamhary bin Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Mustapha during yesterday’s 19th Legislative Council (LegCo) session.
LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim inquired about the standing of the country’s airport in respect to other international airports.
In his reply, the minister said the airport holds a three-star rating and that participation in the rankings serves as a measure for evaluating the airport’s performance.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman also asked if efforts have been made to invite more regional or international airlines to use the airport facilities.
In his reply, the minister said there are plans to promote the airport as a regional hub for both passengers and cargo.
He said talks have been initiated with Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) to offer umrah package services that utilise the national airlines and the airport as transit points.
Meanwhile, LegCo member Yang Berhormat Abdul Aziz bin Haji Hamdan asked if there were plans to introduce a budget airline through a government-linked company, noting the increase in demand for such a services with the country in the COVID-19 endemic phase.
In his reply, the minister said that the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications and its Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) facilitate companies that wish to provide such a service, and it does not play a role in creating the airline.
LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Isa bin Pengiran Haji Aliuddin suggested for the corporatisation of the Land Transport Department (JPD) and DCA as it could potentially contribute to economic growth.
The minister responded that such an action must be implemented properly, and that there are no plans to corporatise the two departments.
“In terms of the ministry’s corporatisation priority for the financial year 2023-2024, it will be focussed on the Postal Services Department,” he said.
Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Isa also inquired on the ability of the Brunei International Airport to act to overcome emergencies and whether there are plans to create an additional runway to avoid closure of the country’s sole airport if faced with an incident.
The minister said there are no plans to build a second runaway, stating they have to factor in costs and the impact on the airport’s surrounding lands.
However, he said there are other procedures to ensure business continuity of the airport, so any incident should not affect it for long.
He said that the DCA has its emergency response and business contingency plans, and have purchased capability for aircraft recovery.