Sibu Airport

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Sibu Airport
Lapangan Terbang Sibu
Sibu New Airport Terminal.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Malaysia
Operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
Serves Bintangor, Sarikei, Kapit, and Sibu, Sarawak, East Malaysia
Location Sibu, Sarawak, East Malaysia
Time zone MST (UTC+08:00)
Elevation AMSL 122 ft / 37 m
Coordinates 02°15′51″N 111°58′57″E / 2.26417°N 111.98250°E / 2.26417; 111.98250Coordinates: 02°15′51″N 111°58′57″E / 2.26417°N 111.98250°E / 2.26417; 111.98250
WBGS is located in East Malaysia
Location in East Malaysia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
13/31 2,745 9,006 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passenger 1,440,935 (Increase 4.1%)
Airfreight (tonnes) 1,460 (Increase 3.3%)
Aircraft movements 22,508 (Increase 30.9%)
Sources: official web site[1]
AIP Malaysia[2]

Sibu Airport (IATA: SBWICAO: WBGS) is an airport located 23 km (14 mi) east south east[2] of Sibu, a town in the state of Sarawak in Malaysia. In 2012, the airport handled 1,204,267 passengers on 15,923 flights and also handled 1,612 metric tonnes of cargo.[1] The airport is the 10th busiest airport in Malaysia, and the 3rd busiest in Sarawak.

In April 2009, the airport was given RM 150 million for an upgrade of the terminal building. On 23 September 2010, Sarawak Minister of Finance and Public Health, Dato' Sri Wong Soon Koh had announced that the expansion project is now on.

The upgraded terminal started its operation on 31 July 2012.[3] The airport terminal is the second largest airport terminal in Sarawak, after Kuching International Airport.[3]


Old airport[edit]

The Sibu Airport control tower in 1992.

The first airport in Sibu was built in Teku, during World War II by the Japanese as a basic air strip. However, the airstrip was heavily bombed by Allied Forces. After the war, the airport was further developed to house basic airport amenities such as departure lounge and public waiting area. The airport was capable to support Fokker F27 Friendship (and later Fokker 50) and Twin Otter flights.

On 15 August 1990, a Lockheed C-130H Hercules belonging to the Royal Malaysian Air Force skidded off the runway and the aircraft had been written off. It was believed that those on board are part of the royal entourage visit to Sibu.[4]

On 2 September 1992, a Fokker 50 aircraft landing gear failed, causing the aircraft to veer off the runway and into the bushes.[5]

The old airport has been demolished to make way for Laila Taib College (formerly known as UCS-United College of Sarawak) and Tun Zaidi Stadium. The runway of the old airport can still be seen and half of it is used as the connecting road for the stadium.

New airport[edit]

The check-in counters after upgrade completion

The actual official date of operation of the new airport began 1 June 1994. On 31 May 1994 the inaugural landing of four Malaysia Airlines aircraft occurred. To be precise, the aircraft were three Fokker 50 and a Boeing 737. They were the pioneers to land on the Sibu New Airport runway which at that time measured 1,981 m × 45 m (6,499 ft × 148 ft).

On that remarkably historical night, the air traffic clearance "Clear to land" was issued from the Sibu Air Traffic Control Tower on the assigned frequency 122.6 MHZ to the first Boeing 737-500 to land on the asphalt surface of the designated runway 13.

That night not only marked the first landing of a turbo-prop commercial aircraft on Sibu ground but subsequently it also commemorated the commencement of operation of the new airport located 23 km (14 mi) east south east[2] Sibu town.

Sibu New Airport was built with a single runway designated as runway 13/31. It was previously 1,981 m × 45 m (6,499 ft × 148 ft) but since the completion of the extension under the 7th Malaysian Plan (RMK7) for 'Sibu Airport Development Plan', the length was extended to 2,745 m (9,006 ft), and the new runway length was commissioned for use on the 9 May 2006. The extended length is able to cater to landing of an Airbus A330 or other wide bodied jet aircraft.

Runway 13 is equipped with an approach lighting system called Precision Approach Lighting Category 1, whereas runway 31 with Simple Approach Lighting System. The other airside areas such as the taxiways (‘A’ and ‘B’) and apron are also furnished with appropriate lighting aids. The maximum capacity of the parking apron is one Airbus, two Boeing 737-400s, two Fokker 50 and two Twin Otter or similar aircraft. Only bay 2 and 3 are equipped with aerobridges functioning on Visual Docking and Guidance System. The functional runway is also equipped with landing aids such as the Middle Marker (MM), Glide Path (GP), the Localizer (LLZ) and the PAPI. All the stated instruments are installed to be utilized by aircraft to assist them during the final approach process and landing manoeuvres.[6]

Expansion project[edit]

The airport underwent an expansion project that involved upgrading of the terminal building, car park and the addition of more aerobridges. This makes the airport capable of handling 1.9 million passengers annually. The cost of the expansion was RM130 million.[7]

The brand new check-in counters of the airport were opened on 19 December 2011.[8] The upgraded Sibu Airport was inaugurated on 16 September 2012.[9]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
AirAsia Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuching
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Malaysia Airlines operated by MASwings Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri, Mukah

Traffic and statistics[edit]

Annual passenger numbers and aircraft statistics[10]
% Change
% Change
% Change
1995 624,738 Steady 2,455 Steady 18,905 Steady
1996 654,785 Increase 4.81 1,758 Decrease 28.39 20,243 Increase 7.08
1997 631,701 Decrease 3.53 1,904 Increase 8.30 19,551 Decrease 3.42
1998 555,483 Decrease 12.07 1,499 Decrease 21.27 17,099 Decrease 12.54
1999 620,830 Increase 11.76 1,745 Increase 16.41 16,096 Decrease 5.87
2000 657,375 Increase 5.89 1,874 Increase 7.39 15,743 Decrease 2.19
2001 725,449 Increase 10.36 2,006 Increase 7.04 16,995 Increase 7.95
2002 759,704 Increase 4.72 1,916 Decrease 4.49 17,113 Increase 0.69
2003 817,687 Increase 7.63 1,701 Decrease 11.22 16,885 Decrease 1.33
2004 903,108 Increase 10.45 1,567 Decrease 7.88 17,650 Increase 4.53
2005 920,930 Increase 1.97 1,377 Decrease 12.13 17,330 Decrease 1.81
2006 898,923 Decrease 2.39 1,040 Decrease 24.47 15,638 Decrease 9.76
2007 809,955 Decrease 9.90 892 Decrease 14.23 12,536 Decrease 19.84
2008 831,772 Increase 2.70 735 Decrease 17.50 14,672 Increase 17.00
2009 939,732 Increase 12.98 856 Increase 16.46 17,449 Increase 18.93
2010 1,009,002 Increase 7.40 1,133 Increase 32.35 18,985 Increase 8.80
2011 1,133,903 Increase 12.29 1,153 Increase 1.77 18,211 Decrease 4.08
2012 1,204,267 Increase 6.2 1,612 Increase 39.8 15,923 Decrease 12.56
2013 1,383,887 Increase 14.9 1,413 Decrease 12.3 17,196 Increase 8.0
2014 1,440,935 Increase 4.1 1,460 Increase 3.3 22,508 Increase 30.9

Incidents and Accidents[edit]

  • On 29 September 2014, a Singaporean training aircraft Beechcraft King Air C90B skidded off the runway during touchdown.[11] No one was injured during the incident.


  1. ^ a b Sibu Airport, Sarawak at Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
  2. ^ a b c WBGS - SIBU at Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia
  3. ^ a b New Sibu airport terminal commences operation
  4. ^ ASN Accident Report
  5. ^ ASN Accident Report
  6. ^ Sibu Airport: History at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ No brakes on sibu airport expansion, says Minister
  8. ^ Moh, Jane (20 December 2011). "Sibu Airport new check-in counters in service". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Moh, Jane (September 2012). "Najib: Upgraded Sibu airport a promise fulfilled". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "MAHB Annual Report 2014" (PDF). 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ Banji, Connie (30 September 2014). "Singapore training aircraft skids at Sibu Airport". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 

External links[edit]