TRANSPORTATION & CIVIL AVIATION

 

Brunei's public transport system has improved throughout the years and now boasts of very reasonably priced taxi fares as well as a punctual bus service.

Metered taxis are available at most hotels, shopping centres and the Brunei International Airport.

Taxi and Bus Services

In the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, taxis are located at the multi-storey car park at Jalan Cator.

Visitors can also opt for chauffer-driven and self driven cars, which are on rental from major hotels and the airport.

Buses are regular, comfortable and relatively cheaper. There are six bus routes in daily operation in Bandar Seri Begawan - the Eastern Line, the Southern Line, the Western Line, the Central Line, the Circle Line and the Northern Line.

Buses operate from 6.30am to 6pm, with the Central Line Bus running every 15 minutes and the Circle Line every 20 minutes.

The Central Line stops at the following bus stations: Brunei International Airport, post office, Government schools, the Terrace Hotel, the Youth Centre, the main bus terminal in Bandar Seri Begawan, the Arts and Handicraft Training Centre, the Brunei Museum and the Malay Technology Museum.

The Circle Line stops at the main bus terminal in Bandar, the RIPAS Hospital, the Jame Asr' Hassanil Bolkiah, the Centrepoint in Gadong, Government offices, Immigration/ Labour Department, the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, the Islamic Dakwah Centre, Supa Save Supermarket, Terrace Hotel, Sheraton Utama Hotel and the Youth Centre.

The Northern Line has three routes, Northern Line 1, Northern Line 2 and Northern Line 3. The Northern Line 1 and 2 buses runs between Berakas Camp, the Brunei International Airport and the bus terminal in Bandar.

Northern Line 3 runs between the Berakas Camp, the bus terminal and the Malay Technology Museum in Kota Batu.

Ferry And Water Taxi Services

One of the major tourists' attractions in Brunei is the picturesque water village, Kampong Ayer, dubbed the "Venice of the East".

Water taxis are used to get around the village, which is located near the capital. Water taxis can be hailed from the numerous `docking ports' along the riverbanks of the Brunei River and fares are negotiable.

Speedboats are used to travel to Temburong, which is one of the four districts of Brunei. These speedboats can easily be identified with its distinctive blue colour.

Those wishing to go to the Malaysian Federal Territory of Labuan and the Malaysian towns of Sundar and Lawas can board the ferries at Serasa Terminal, Muara. Services start from 7.45 am till 4 pm.

Civil Aviation

Commercial air transport in Brunei began in 1953, with the establishment of air service links connecting Bandar Seri Begawan with Anduki in the Belait district.

Initial flights to Malaysia were made to accommodate travellers from Labuan in Sabah and Lutong in Sarawak.

Airport services were operated from the Berakas area at an old runway site built by the Japanese during World War II. It was known then as the Brunei Airport.

The growth in popularity of air travel in the 1970s resulted in a significant increase in the civil aviation movement with the old airport busy with activity and operating beyond its capacity prompting the Government of Brunei Darussalam to build a new airport to cater the needs of the growing numbers of users.

A new airport was built in Mukim Berakas focusing on easy access from all areas of the country and became operational in 1974.

Its inauguration marked an important date in the history of civil aviation in Brunei, opening Brunei to the world and was aptly named as Brunei International Airport.

Since its opening, it has been upgraded in the mid 1980s at a cost of B$110 million and in 2000, expanded again to a cost of B$30 million.

The Brunei International Airport can handle 2.2 million passengers and 50,000 tonnes of cargo a year.

The core mission of the Department of Civil Aviation is to develop the Brunei International Airport as the leading regional air hub by providing the highest level of safety, security and efficiency of the aviation system, competitive services and facilities for the maximum benefits of the aviation communities.

With its core mission, the Department of Civil Aviation is committed to fulfil the following objectives:

• To maintain an open sky policy which aims to increase passenger and cargo traffic, liberalise air traffic rights and expand the number of airline companies serviced by the airport.

• To establish an aircraft maintenance centre with capabilities to handle, repair and maintain Boeings, Airbuses and Fokker planes.

• To transform the airport into a viable commercial and business centre, paving the way for the establishment of a world-class Airport City.

• To direct efforts towards the establishment of a Transhipment Centre.

• To establish the airport as a regional refuelling centre by offering the most attractive fuel prices and liberalising fuel suppliers.

• To continuously improve and upgrade facilities and services at the airport in general, and the passenger terminal in particular through various expansions projects.

• To attain the highest standards of aviation safety, security and efficiency through improved facilities and services, such as the 14,000 feet runaway and Cat 2 equipment.

Commercial Airline

Currently Brunei has one commercial airline, Royal Brunei Airlines and it is the national carrier for Brunei. Established on November 18, 1974 as an independent corporation, it is wholly owned by the Government of Brunei Darussalam. With a history of fleet from Fokker 50s and 100s Boeings 737s, 757s, 767s and newly acquired Airbus planes.

As of January 2004, RBA provides scheduled services to more than 20 destinations across Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and Europe with introduction to new destination as time goes by.

In their effort to compete with other airline services RBA has a new in-flight entertainment system which has been introduced to the airline's Boeings 767s for its long haul journeys together with a complete retrofit of both its Business and Economy Class seats.

RBA has plans to increase its fleet size by introducing new narrow-bodied aircrafts and new wide-bodied aircrafts by 2013.  --Courtesy of Brunei Year Book