Unions await support to oppose Subang Airport takeover bid

Subang Airport already has a viable regeneration plan proposed by MAHB to improve operations

by ASILA JALIL / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) workers unions said they have not received any reply from MAHB chairman Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir in their bid to get him on the workers’ side to oppose the takeover of operations at Subang airport.

The three unions sent a letter to Zambry last month to support the workers’ opposition to the proposed takeover of Lapangan Terbang Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (Subang Airport).

“We have informed Zambry on our objection towards the proposed takeover of Subang Airport via our letter dated May 6, 2021. We have yet to receive any response from him.

“We understand the chairman may be occupied with political matters after he was elected as Barisan Nasional’s secretary general recently. However, we urge him to stand together with the unions and MAHB employees to oppose the proposed takeover,” said Malaysia Airports Workers Union chairman Hussin Shahar yesterday.

The unions said Subang Airport already has a viable regeneration plan that was proposed by MAHB to improve operations in coming years.

Speaking on behalf of the unions, Hussin said the same plan is now being proposed by the Transport and Finance Ministries in their joint proposal to the Cabinet for the handover of the airport’s operations to a third party.

“We are disappointed with the insensitivity shown by both ministries that have turned a blind eye on all the proposals made by MAHB. They take the proposals from MAHB and give them to WCT Holdings Bhd instead,” he said.

The unions had previously asked MAHB to remove WCT as business partner after it submitted a proposal to take over operations at the airport, saying that outsourcing would cannibalise the group’s ambition of becoming a true national airport operator.

WCT currently handles operations of Subang’s Skypark Terminal through its Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd.

MAHB yesterday announced that it had submitted a comprehensive strategic plan for the long-term development of Subang Airport to the government.

The company said the plan — which had been verified through extensive benchmarking and stakeholder engagements, and further validated by independent parties — focuses on three areas to make Subang the preferred aerospace and aviation business hub in Asia Pacific over five years.

The three focus areas include aerospace ecosystem, business aviation and urban community airport, it said.

MAHB has enough internal cash to undertake the regeneration plan that would require an infrastructure investment of RM300m, says Mohd Shukrie – pic source: MAHB

“Moving forward, MAHB’s Subang Airport regeneration plan will grow the ecosystem further by three times, doubling the number of global and local operators to more than 100 that will create and support 19,000-strong high-skilled workforce,” said MAHB group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh.

He said MAHB has enough internal cash to undertake the regeneration plan that would require an infrastructure investment of RM300 million over the next five years.

“This is well within our capability as we still have a strong cash and money market position of RM1.6 billion with RM914 million available for the Malaysian operations (as at March 31, 2021).”

Mohd Shukrie said MAHB grew Subang Airport’s ecosystem fourfold, attracting 60 leading brand names and facilitating capital inflows of over RM500 million since it was mandated in 2005 to develop Subang Airport into an international aerospace park.

Subang Airport is also the location of the nation’s most complex manufacturing products and highest value maintenance, repair and operation activities that created jobs for 4,000 people.

Last year, the ecosystem generated 50% of the country’s aerospace revenue, amounting to RM5.7 billion, said Mohd Shukrie.