MELAKA: The Melaka International Airport (LTAM) at Batu Berendam is set to be developed as a preferred aerospace and business aviation hub, says Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh.
The Melaka Chief Minister said he is taking steps to ensure LTAM continues to be a regional aviation hub by introducing more aerospace ecosystems.
"Currently, we are discussing with Indonesian carriers for air connectivity between cities in that country and LTAM.
"The state government is also in the midst of discussions with seven airlines to operate commercial flights at LTAM," he said after opening the Mustafa Jewellery outlet at a shopping mall on Saturday(Sept 9).
Ab Rauf said he also scheduled to talk with an Italian helicopter manufacturing conglomerate next month to discuss the prospect of turning LTAM into a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre.
Meanwhile, he said the decision by the two airlines to cease operations at LTAM is purely a commercial decision made by the service providers.
"The state government has nothing to do with the decisions made by these airlines," he said.
Ab Rauf said the airlines cited a lack of passengers and inadequate aircraft as reasons to stop operations at LTAM.
"These airlines have decided to use their aeroplanes to serve more lucrative routes," he added.
On Tuesday (Sept 5), The Star reported that commercial flights have stopped coming to LTAM. Local tourism players said that the loss of service is rare.
The Star team checked the airport on Sept 5 and found that check-in desks, a baggage carousel and other counters had been empty since last month, with all flights, including those to Pekan Baru, Indonesia and Penang, no longer available.