Mavcom drafting plan on future airports

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Graphic By TMR

THE Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) is drafting a national guideline on the development of future airports, as many local airports require upgrades to increase handling capacity to cope with the influx of tourists into Malaysia.

The aviation regulator is preparing the National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP) that will be used to weigh in on the construction and expansion of airports in the country, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said.

The 18-month review is expected to be completed by December 2020.

“The NASP will provide a long-term framework on the development of a more efficient and competitive airports system that will be well-integrated and interconnected with other transportation networks in Malaysia,” Kamarudin told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a question by Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (PH-Beruas) who asked about the government’s plan to expand and build new airports to fulfil increasing demand in northern Peninsular Malaysia states like Perak, Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

There are 40 airports in the country, nearly all of which are managed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), according to the Transport Ministry’s website.

Several domestic and international airports in Malaysia are due for an expansion, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport which has topped its 30 million passengers per year capacity.

Plans are also underway for an expansion of the Penang International Airport, which has exceeded its existing capacity of 6.5 million passengers per year.

The entire project, which will be privately funded, is estimated to cost RM1.2 billion.

In March, the Economic Affairs Ministry announced plans to construct a RM1.6 billion airport in Kulim, Kedah, which drew criticism as the proposed airport is located just 60km from Penang.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration is also considering an upgrade to the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh, Perak, by lengthening its runway to handle international flights from China and India.

The matter is still at the discussion stage between the state and federal governments, Kamarudin said.

Over in Langkawi, plans to provide aerobridge facilities to the Langkawi International Airport are being developed after its successful upgrade earlier in August.