Joint effort to develop airports

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and the government are currently working closely to ensure domestic airports has sufficient capacity to support passenger traffic as well as future expansions.

Acting group chief executive oficer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said airports were vital to the development of the country, especialling in attracting and providing high-value businesses and employment.

Raja Azmi said MAHB is positioning the country as the effective centre of activity within the region and evolving its role into strategic functions within the economy and the aviation sector.

In addition, MAHB is also gearing towards establishing Malaysia as the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) transhipment hub and fulfilment ecosystem, with the first phase Aeropolis development at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

Positioned as a catalyst for business growth, KLIA Aeropolis will be focused on air cargo and logistics, aerospace and aviation, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) and leisure.

Raja Azmi said the infrastructure development support is essential to realise the government’s ambition to transform Malaysia into a key sourcing and fulfilment hub for global marketplaces.

The airport development such as infrastructure enhancement and digital innovation are also important to drive connectivity and tourism as well as high-value investments.

He said the expansion could either be full capacity or pursued in phases depending on the passenger growth forecast for the specific airport.

He added some airports may not require a full (expansion) implementation right now while other airports may require more investments, adding that airport development is a multi-decade exercise and its original master plan needs to be updated accordingly.

“The masterplan sets out the kind of growth path and type of expansion that we (MAHB) want to do at all our airports in Malaysia,” he added.

However MAHB would not want to wait for major physical works to be done especially at KLIA’s main terminal.

The company has already initiated its Airports 4.0 initiative, a comprehensive seamless digitalisation of its airport operation to take on the increase in passenger capacity.

“There are a lot of automation works in Airports 4.0 that MAHB will invest in. We want to do more with the same.

“We have some time to take on more growth with the same infrastructure, provided by efficiency and automation at our airports,” he said.

Raja Azmi said the initiative would cater for short-term growth but the decision on airport expansion is required for mid and longer-term growth.

He said MAHB would continue its discussion with the government on the funding model and mechanism for its airports’ expansion.

“Nevertheless as the operator, our role is to manage the airport and provide all the facilities as well as to upgrade all existing equipment to cater for the growth,” he said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said global passenger demand for air travel is expected to double over the next 20 years to 6.7 billion in 2036.

IATA noted the air passenger growth is shifting to East and South from the traditional growth areas like Americas and Europe.

Source : New Straits Times

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