Desmond Lim plans takeover of Subang airport, says report

KUALA LUMPUR (May 6): Businessman Tan Sri Desmond Lim has been reported to be planning “a takeover of Subang airport”.

According to a report by The Vibes newsportal, WCT Holdings Bhd wholly owned unit Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd (SSSB) “is proposing to enter a new concession to operate the entire Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport area until 2092, developing it to be a city airport”.

Lim is executive chairman of WCT and also the largest shareholder in the listed construction and property development group.

The report stated that SSSB made the proposal to Putrajaya via the Transport Ministry.

The company was reported to have said that the airport will serve point-to-point passengers and express freight, “together with related property developments”.

“It will grow to 7.5mppa (million passengers per annum) and will operate turboprops, small jets, helicopters, drone/air-taxis and freighters,” it added.

SSSB assured that the airport would not compete with Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) “as the focus will be premium business travellers, capturing a different market from KLIA passengers”.

The Vibes also stated in the same report that “key government-linked stakeholders are objecting the move”.

The report revealed that in an April 28 letter to the Transport Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Isham Ishak, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) chief executive Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh and Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd (MAG) chief executive Izham Ismail said the sale could “significantly affect the country’s aviation industry”.

Both stated that KLIA will lose competitiveness to “regional peers while also threatening the investment returns of both companies’ owner Khazanah Nasional Bhd as well as institutional investors Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Employees Provident Fund and Retirement Fund Inc”.

“The negative impact to both companies (MAHB and MAG) will certainly involve public money,” they said.

They added that MAHB stands to lose RM11.9 billion, “based on the remainder of the Subang airport concession until 2069”.

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