This month, Dato’ Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh expects to see further growth potential for Malaysia Airports with the recent opening of Mukah Airport after being upgraded from being a short take-off and landing air strip (STOLport), with a new terminal, runway and other facilities. The airport operator’s Runway 1 at the KL International Airport (KLIA) has also been rehabilitated and is operational now. Another factor contributing to its growth is coming from its Turkish fully-owned asset Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGIA), which has been making good progress this year.
Envisage our RM300 million spanking new domestic airport in Mukah, which has successfully completed its operational readiness and airport transfer trial in May, will be a boost to the town’s economy and connectivity to other coastal towns and surrounding areas in Sarawak. Following the upgrading of the Mukah STOLport into an airport, Malaysia Airports still has eight other STOLports operating in the Land of the Hornbills which serve as key socio-economic contributors.
The Mukah Airport will be a vital rural hub for passenger and cargo movements. It can now accommodate up to 200 passengers at any one time compared to 67 previously as a STOLport. We are looking at up to 265,000 passengers a year. Its new runway, measuring 1,500 metres by 30 metres, will be suitable for turboprop and helicopter operations. The runway’s length can be extended for larger jet airliners such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 in future.
Facilities at the new airport include 100 car parking bays, 20 taxi parking bays, 20 motorcycle parking bays, two bus parking bays, passenger waiting area, the Air Traffic Control Tower, a VIP building and fire station. Airport stakeholders’ offices of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and the Meteorological Department are also housed here. Indeed, Mukah Airport’s opening has never been timelier and more crucial, especially during the current challenging Covid-19 pandemic, when it comes to the delivery of essential supplies such as medicine, food and basic supplies to our country’s remote rural areas.
I am also glad to announce that KLIA’s Runway 1, which is part of the flagship airport’s Runway Sustainability Master Plan, has been fully rehabilitated within its six months’ schedule. It is now ready to support the recovery of safe flight operations after passing CAAM’s recent calibration and audit checks. As always, we remain committed to providing top-notch facilities for the ultimate travel experience via our airports.
At full capacity, KLIA can handle up to 78 flight movements an hour. Our latest May data shows improvements in both our passenger and flight movements compared with the previous corresponding period. Currently, we have 41 commercial passenger airlines and 10 cargo operating at KLIA, which recently welcomed Kargo Xpress with its Kuala Lumpur-Kuching and Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu routes using the Boeing B737-400SF aircraft. Kargo Xpress has six weekly flights to each of these destinations.
Meanwhile, cargo operations at ISGIA have also been resilient, thanks to the growing demand in the logistics chain that has been driven aggressively by ecommerce. Despite the reintroduction of travel restrictions in Turkey, we are optimistic of its air travel recovery with Turkey’s local carriers such as Pegasus Airlines and AnadoluJet introducing new flights to Batumi, Lyon, Hanover and Pristina. Out of the total 1.6 million passenger movements contributed by Malaysia Airports’ network of airports in May, 1.1 million came from ISGIA.
I would like to reiterate that Malaysia Airports has been continuously ramping up our efforts in terms of safety measures to ensure that all our airports are ready to meet head on the new norms once the travel restrictions are lifted. Until then, stay safe!