PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has less than a month left to decide how it will work with Subang Skypark on a plan to regenerate Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport.
Minister of Transport Loke Siew Fook said MAHB will continue to spearhead the regeneration effort but it has to work with Subang Skypark on agreed terms.
One possibility, he said, is for both parties to form a joint-venture.
MAHB will be required to present a business proposal on the regeneration plan to the Cabinet by the end of this quarter.
The ultimate plan is to turn it into a city airport to serve the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), much like how the London City Airport plays back-up to Heathrow.
Subang Skypark will continue to operate Terminal 3 of the airport, which is still referred to as Subang Airport.
Loke, who spoke at the InvestMalaysia 2023 conference today, acknowledged that there has been a lot of debate on the development of Subang Airport, while reiterating the point that it has been highly politicised.
He had announced last month that jet aircraft would henceforth be allowed to fly through Subang Airport, raising concerns that competition would be stiff given its close proximity to KLIA.
Until then, only turbo props and private aircraft were allowed at Subang Airport.
With reference to concerns that life in the surrounding residential area would be disrupted by a newly regenerated airport, Loke gave an assurance that Subang Airport would not be expanded to replace KLIA.
“It is not a new airport that we’re building in Subang. It still has a single runway and will not be expanded to have two runways,” he added.
On concerns that with a higher frequency of flights, noise pollution will rise, he said conditions will be imposed to solve the problem. “We will restrict the types of aircraft that can land at Subang Airport,” he said.
Loke said passenger traffic at the airport will eventually rise to eight million from five million today.
He said the rail link to the airport will serve as an important feature to mitigate traffic congestion in the area.
The Subang Skypark rail link connects the airport with KL Sentral but its service was suspended on Feb 15 due to low ridership of less than 100 passengers a day.
The suspension will save the government millions spent on subsidising the operation of the rail link now.
“Upon the regeneration of Subang Airport, the rail link will be revived. It’s definitely one of the features that makes Subang a very viable city airport,” Loke added.
On another matter, Loke said the government will not cap airfares.
“It will send the wrong message. We have a market economy and we still believe that market pressure is the way forward,” he said.
He acknowledged that the people, especially those from Sabah and Sarawak, are sensitive to the issue of high airfares.
“We should emphasise on increasing capacity. There is a new airline plying the route between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak,” he pointed out.
MY Airlines recently entered the aviation market in Malaysia with flights across the South China Sea as well as to popular destinations in the peninsula, such as Langkawi.