KUALA LUMPUR (June 23): The proposed international airport in Kulim, Kedah, to cater to the increase in flights to the northern region, is expected to cost RM1.6 billion, said Kedah Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
The costs included land acquisition, the building of basic infrastructure of the airport and two runways, he said.
Mukhriz said studies had been done and it was important for the northern states to have another international airport, as the existing Bayan Lepas Airport in Penang would likely reach its maximum capacity in two years.
“Another alarming factor is that the airport has one runway, which has limited capacity to accommodate more aircraft. The landing by cargo planes has been reduced by over 10 per cent, over the past three years.
“The northern region is growing and requires air cargo facilities and services,” he told press conference, after the opening of Bina Darulaman Bhd’s
office, here today.
Also present were Bursa Malaysia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tan Sri Tajuddin Atan, Khazanah Nasional Bhd Deputy Chairman, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Glomac Bhd Group Managing Director/CEO Datuk Seri FD Iskandar.
Mukhriz said that it was not easy for Penang airport to have a second runway, as the factories were located near it, adding that the suggestion of sea reclamation to extend the runway, was “easier said than done”.
“An extension of the runway doesn’t help .. increase in flights only comes with more runways and not by lengthening the existing one,” he said.
He said Japan’s Kansai International Airport in Osaka, which was built through a sea reclamation process, took approximately 10 years.
Mukhriz said it was cheaper to build an airport in the mainland, rather than reclaiming the sea, adding that over 600 ha rubber estate land were available in Kulim for the proposed airport, with up to four runways.
He said the airport, if approved by the federal government, could be a regional airport, to accommodate the areas in southern Thailand.
Meanwhile, BDB Group Managing Director, Datuk Izham Yusoff, said the company planned to strengthen its balance sheet this year, as well as to replenish land bank.
It would also continue to focus on its core businesses, namely property, engineering construction and highway and road maintenance, he said.
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