MAHB sees rise in air passengers


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 29 Jan 2003

BY SABRY TAHIR

MALAYSIA AIRPORTS HOLDINGS BHD (MAHB) expects passenger traffic through the nation's airports to increase by another million-plus or 4.5% to 34.5 million this year. 

The KL International Airport (KLIA) alone is expected to handle some 18 million passengers this year, up from 16.33 million last year, according to MAHB chairman Tan Sri Basir Ismail. 

MAHB, the sole concessionaire for the country's airport operations, handled a record total of 33.2 million passengers last year, up from 32 million in 2001. 

“I expect more visitors especially from the Middle East...I think they have more or less doubled their flights here,” Basir said after an agreement signing ceremony in Subang yesterday. 

On MAHB's plan to re-develop the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Basir said the company had invited tenders for the construction of hangars and other facilities for its clients there. 

MAHB yesterday signed accords with two companies – MHS Aviation Bhd and Grouptech Sdn Bhd – for the development and leasing of hangar and other facilities to them. 

MHS Aviation, which plans to use the hangar for parking of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and as a third-party maintenance and business aviation centre, also intends to set up its headquarters there. 

Grouptech, the engineering and maintenance arm of Transmile Group Bhd, will utilise the facilities for aircraft maintenance and testing services. 

Existing facilities at the Subang airport include an 11,800ft runway capable of accommodating all types of aircraft including Boeing 747s, and a general aviation centre that provides full support services. 

Since 1998, when the gateway for flights into Malaysia was moved to the KLIA in Sepang, MAHB has been planning to transform the 16,000 sq m Terminal 3 in Subang into an aviation centre with complementary commercial and entertainment outlets. 

Basir said MAHB had hired consultancy firm Henry Butcher to explore various options for the development of the commercial and entertainment outlets. 

“The study, which commenced two months ago, would be completed by the end of this month,” he said. 

He added that the consultancy's preliminary findings showed that the commercial and entertainment development project was feasible. 

On the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board's proposal to convert the Subang airport into an express bus terminal, Basir said: “Subang should be made an aviation centre rather than a bus terminal given the amount of money spent to develop the airport to the present standard. It cost some RM1bil to build the runway alone?” 

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