KUALA LUMPUR: Studies and technical input are still needed for final approval of the Kedah Aerotropolis project, says former transport minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
He said that in 2021, the National Physical Planning Council agreed in principle to the Kulim International Airport (KXP) proposal, which consists of an airport and a sizable area for industrial activity.
However, Dr Wee said final approval was subject to certain conditions such as the results of studies, technical input and feasibility projections of cargo and passenger loads.
“At the same time, the National Airport Strategic Plan (NASP) has been implemented by the Transport Ministry since last year on all 42 airports and STOLports across the country to determine capacity, needs and allocation of airspace,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday (March 20).
Dr Wee was responding to a parliamentary reply by Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who said the proposed Kedah Aerotropolis project has yet to be approved.
“(After) the approval of all ministries involved, the project proponent will only then be allowed to submit their application for the aerodrome licence to the Transport Minister.
“At this point, the project proponent has yet to fulfil the conditions for approval,” Dr Wee added.
During Question Time in Parliament on Monday, Loke said the ministry had no issues approving the project if it is in line with the NASP report and if the operator has the ability to run the facility.
Loke also said the ministry had yet to receive an official application for the aerodrome operator's licence (AOL).
Dr Wee said under the Civil Aviation Act 1969, a project proponent must apply for an AOL before an airport can be granted operational status.
Previously, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to consider the state’s plans to develop the Kedah Aerotropolis.
Muhammad Sanusi’s remarks came after the tabling of Budget 2023 last month.
During the tabling of Budget 2023, Anwar announced the expansion of the Penang International Airport and the Subang airport.
Both projects, said Anwar, are expected to translate to economic benefits with lower costs, compared to the estimated RM7bil to build a new airport in Kulim, Kedah.