Chan to propose S’pore airline fly to Labuan
Any airline is welcome to operate here and a proposal would be made for a low-cost carrier from Singapore to make Labuan a destination. Transport Minister Datuk Sri Chan Kong Choy disclosed this when asked to comment on the open sky policy that has been proposed for the island, after he was briefed on the progress of the RM365 million upgrading project of the Labuan Airport, upon his arrival here on Sunday evening. The proposal for the open sky policy and the redevelopment of the terminal building and runway, first announced by Prime Minister Datuk Sri Abdullah Badawi in September 2004, is aimed at enabling direct international flights and bigger wide- bodied planes to land, a move to enhance the status of Labuan as an International Offshore Financial Centre, an oil and gas hub as well as to boost its tourism potential. “I want to make it very clear that there would be no problems at all for any airlines wanting to operate here. The Ministry of Transport will facilitate,” he stressed. Chan added that in view of the bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore, he would suggest and make a proposal during the next round of aviation talks, for a low- cost carrier from Singapore to include Labuan as a destination. “So far no international airline has applied to operate in Labuan yet, but we will welcome them,” he said. Tan Sri Ting Pik Kiing, the advisor of Global Upline Sdn Bhd - the main contractor of the airport upgrading works, welcomed the minister who arrived in a private jet. Upon being briefed by the project director Dr Shafie Karimin of KLIA Premier Holdings Sdn Bhd that the terminal building and landside of the airport were completed way ahead of time and the airside would be completed and handed over to Malaysia Airport Berhad by March 2008, eight months ahead of schedule, he commented: “I am very happy with the progress of the work”. When asked if a new date has been fixed for the official opening, he answered in the negative. It was earlier announced that the Prime Minister would officiate the opening on October 26 this year and plans were made for him to witness the first landing of a MAS Airbus 330 here.