Kuantan’s new international airport to open in 2026

(Standing, from left) Wan Rosdy, Tengku Hassanal and Pahang state secretary Datuk Seri Dr Sallehuddin Ishak witnessing the signing of the MOUs.

THE new Kuantan International Airport, which will be part of the Pahang Aerospace City, is expected to be operational in 2026.

Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the high-impact RM2bil development project in Gebeng would replace the existing Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport and support the Third National Physical Plan as a national transit development city (sea, air and land) in an integrated manner.

“This project was planned at the end of 2019 and received the approval of the 39th National Physical Planning Council chaired by the Prime Minister last Oct 21.

“The implementation of this project also takes into account other economic hub factors such as its location in the Gebeng Industrial Area, being close to the Kuantan Port and the East Coast Rail Link project, as well as being the main gateway to the east coast states,” he said in a statement.

Wan Rosdy had accompanied Pahang Regent Tengku Mahkota Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Ibni Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in witnessing the signing of two memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build the airport and development of the Aerospace City.

The Kuantan International Airport MOU was signed by Pahang Corporation Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Khusaini Harumaini, Gading Group Bhd executive chairman Datuk Seri Johari Harun representing the main developer and AVIC International head of delegation to Malaysia Zhuo Yue, representing the strategic partner.

For the mixed development of Aerospace City, the MOU was signed by Johari for the main developer and Syabas Seribumi Sdn Bhd director Mohamad Nor Hamid, for the strategic partner.

Wan Rosdy said the project was expected to be a catalyst for economic growth in Pahang involving a gross development value of RM7.5bil per year, equivalent to RM150bil over 20 years.

“The state government also aims to capture at least 1% of the Asia-Pacific Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) market estimated at RM15tril.

“The project component involves 70% for MRO and the remaining 30% is for the operation of the airport itself,” he said.

Wan Rosdy disclosed that the project would be developed on 5,042ha of land in Gebeng, in a joint venture through a private- financing initiative with the build-operate-own concept whereby the operation of the airport would be handled entirely by the company through the formation of a special purpose vehicle, namely Pahang Airport Bhd.

“The project will also create new job opportunities with a target of 20,000 jobs for airport operations as well as 30,000 other jobs involving skilled and semi-skilled manpower through the development of the industrial, services and tourism sectors.

“Through this project, Pahang government also aims to increase tourist arrivals to 40.79 million by 2050 after taking into account a normal situation without pandemic issues and the entry of new investors,” he added.

Wan Rosdy hoped that the plans to establish the Pahang Aerospace City could be realised and in turn, make Pahang the top choice for investors, especially with the services available and the strategic geo-economic factors of the east coast.

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