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KK hovercraft service
Published on: Saturday, February 03, 2007

Kota Kinabalu: The journey between the airport and city, especially for air travellers, will be made shorter soon with the introduction of a 30-seater hovercraft passenger service - the first in Malaysia.Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman was said to have been briefed and given the green light for the project.

The 15km hovercraft service from the city and 1Borneo (phase one development of this service) will only take 15 minutes - or one km per minute. That to the airport a little more. The journey will offer a very unique experience and memorable seafront view of the city.

The service is expected to be introduced by City Hall in collaboration with Ramajuta Properties Sdn Bhd whose wholly-owned company Sagajuta (Sabah) Sdn Bhd is developing the hypermall project 1Borneo at Jalan Sulaman, next year.

City Hall's Town Planning Director, Alijus Sipil, said the move was part of its plan to reduce traffic congestion in the city and provide more convenience for the public, especially those going to and from the airport and the city central.

"We actually had this plan (concept) for a ferry passenger service as part of our efforts to solve the problem of traffic congestion in the city for quite sometime. We are fortunate that Sagajuta has come forward to assist us," he told Daily Express.

Also found in other coastal cities like Venice to enable tourists and the travelling public to access the airport on time without being caught in a traffic jam, especially during the rush hour, he said the unique position of the State Capital as a coastal resort city also made the concept feasible.

"The location of city makes it more easy to travel to the airport via sea. We conducted an initial study which found that the hovercraft passenger service can reach the Low-Cost Terminal (Terminal Two).

"We are now looking at providing a terminal facility for hovercraft at Terminal Two which can be done easily. At the same time, we are studying the possibility of providing a terminal also at Terminal One of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (which caters especially for international arrivals)," said Alijus.

He also thanked the developer for assisting in providing such a beneficial facility for the city. He said the Kuala Lumpur International Airport being the busiest boasts having the LRT commuter service and "we in Kota Kinabalu will have a hovercraft ferry passenger service which can also become a tourism attraction."

KKIA is currently the second busiest airport in the nation.

Ramajuta Group of Companies Managing Director/Executive Chairman Raymond Chan said the service to and from the airport and the city would be an extension of the hovercraft passenger service it planned to provide between its two projects the 1Borneo and the Warisan Square (next to the Centre Point).

"We just thought of the idea using hovercraft because of the depth of the waterÉinitially we thought of using a passenger boat," he said.

A hovercraft can go through even those areas which are too shallow.

Besides it can provide excitement to those using it, he said, adding that using a hovercraft is something very unique.

In Hong Kong, they are using jet-powered passenger boats from Hong Kong to Macau which takes only one hour per trip. "Everyone would be able to enjoy it, as the ticket would be affordable," he assured.

Chan said the second phase would see it extended up to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) terminals as one of the mode of transport between the city and airport. "We are going to work together with the Government including the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to promote this interesting service which can only happen in this part of Malaysia," he said.



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