Kulim airport only approved 'in principle', says Wee

PUTRAJAYA: The Kulim International Airport (KXP) project has only been approved "in principle” and is still subject to studies on its viability, says the Transport Ministry.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) on Friday (Oct 30) said the approval-in-principle was subject to further consideration by the ministry and other government agencies.

They include the Finance Ministry, the Home Ministry, the Department of Environment, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), among others.

“The National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Oct 27 merely approved in principle the proposal for the development project of KXP.

“The proposal is also subject to the findings of the National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP), which will commence in early 2021 for all 42 existing airports in the country and those in the proposal stage.

“The KXP project owner will then be requested to provide the pertinent information to NASP consultants with realistic and accurate projections, especially pertaining to passenger and cargo service demands, and airlines that have committed to KXP, particularly during the post-Covid-19 era.

“The final approval for the KXP development proposal will only be considered at the conclusion of the NASP study and in compliance with all pre-conditions set forth by the agencies involved, which are noted in technical reports such as the Environmental Impact Assessments, Social Impact Assessments, Traffic Impact Assessments, among others, ” said Dr Wee in a statement.

He added that while the ministry welcomed proposals from both state governments and the private sector to build airports, it was duty-bound to ensure that the projects were viable and sustainable, as well as fulfilled all technical requirements established by CAAM and the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

The basis for the KXP development project, he said, was to complement the passenger and cargo handling provided by the Penang International Airport (PEN).

“It is prudent to review the proposed development of KXP at a time when PEN is nearing maximum handling capacity.

“Therefore, the passenger and cargo demands must be based on robust and reliable facts and data which takes into account PEN's maximum capacity and the viability of the KXP project, ” he added.

Dr Wee was responding to a statement by Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor that the construction of KXP has been officially approved during the NPPC meeting chaired by Muhyiddin.

In response, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the KXP project had only been tabled before the NPPC for advice, adding that the Transport Ministry had said there would not be any decision until the NASP study had been completed.

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