KUALA LUMPUR: Mukah’s brand new airport will open for passenger services today, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The first touchdown at the airport will be a MASwings’ DHC6 Viking Air flight MH3553 from Miri that is scheduled to land at 9.10am, while the first departure will be MH3412, a 9:30am flight to Kuching.
Located 7km from Mukah town, the new Mukah airport began its construction in August 2017 to replace the nearby STOLport, or an airport with a short runway, which in this case, was 1,097m long.
The STOLport constrained the types of aircraft that could use the facility and could only serve smaller propeller-driven aircraft, other than restricting the amount of fuel that can be carried by the planes.
In contrast, the new Mukah Airport comes with a 1,500m by 30m runway, while the apron and taxiways are 15m wide.
Sitting on a 3,125sq m site, the new airport is designed with better comfort in mind, turning it into a new rural hub for passenger travel and cargo movement.
In a statement yesterday, Dr Wee said the airport can accommodate up to 265,000 passengers per year and larger aircraft, along with parking for 100 cars, 20 taxis, two buses, and 20 motorcycles.
Alongside the air traffic control tower, there are also offices to house the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, the Meteorological Services Department, as well as Fire and Rescue Department services.
The facility is also up to mark in terms of safety as it is equipped with Wing and Runway Visual Range system, the Doppler VHF Omnidirectional Range radio navigation system, as well as a simple approach lighting system.
“The Ministry and Sarawak state government are confident that the new Mukah Airport will catalyse the development of Sarawak’s Economic Plan for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy,” said Dr Wee.“The new airport is expected to encourage more local economic growth by facilitating the movement of various exports including agriculture and aquaculture products such as sago, pineapples, and umai, a local delicacy.”
The coastal district of Mukah is an area known for its food and agricultural products as part of Sarawak’s food basket area stretching from Betong to Sarikei.
The Mukah Airport aims to be a part of the town’s growth, including supporting its development as an education and research hub, alongside the Matadeng Industrial Park.
It is also hoped that the new Mukah Airport will be able to facilitate the transport of Covid-19 vaccines for Sarawak’s rural areas to speed up the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.