SETIU: Terengganu will not build a new runway on Pulau Redang but will instead maintain the existing one, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman.
He said the decision was made after taking into account the risk factors and views from relevant quarters, especially in relation to cost and tourism impact.
However, he said the state government would build several shops at the Pulau Redang Airport for local entrepreneurs to sell souvenirs and other essential items.
“We (the state government) have decided to maintain the existing airport and also agreed that it is only for the use of ATR-72 aircraft. We just need to add more facilities by increasing the number of shops,” he added.
He said this after a briefing by the state Tourism Department on the airport’s potential.
The Pulau Redang Airport has a runway which is 1,050m-long and 30m wide.
Prior to this, tourists flew in to the island via Berjaya Air which began operating flights from Subang in 2000, followed by Seletar, Singapore, a year later, and then from Changi, Singapore, in 2010.
However, the airline ceased its flights to the island since last year due to the condition of the runway, which could only accommodate the ATR-72 aircraft and with only 40 passengers when the actual capacity of the aircraft is 74 passengers.
Meanwhile, Batu Rakit assemblyman Bazlan Abd Rahman said should the airport resume operations it could attract more tourists, especially from China.
He said Ahmad Razif’s idea of opening a variety of shops would also provide business and employment opportunities for the Pulau Redang residents.
“This is a wise move which will benefit about 2,000 people here.
“In fact, more tourists will probably make more frequent trips here,” he said. – Bernama