KUALA LUMPUR: 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 (pic).
The costs include land acquisition, the building of basic infrastructure of the airport and two runways.
Mukhriz said studies had been done and it is important for the northern states to have another international airport as the existing Bayan Lepas Airport in Penang would likely reach its maximum capacity within two years.
“Another alarming factor is that the airport has only one runway, which has limited capacity to accommodate more aircraft. Landing by cargo planes has been reduced by over 10% over the past three years.
“The northern region is growing and requires air cargo facilities and services,” he told reporters after the opening of Bina Darulaman Bhd’s office here yesterday.
Mukhriz said it was not easy for Penang airport to have a second runway as factories were located nearby, adding that the suggestion to reclaim land to extend the runway is “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 land reclamation process, took approximately 10 years.
Mukhriz said it was cheaper to build an airport in the mainland rather than reclaiming land from 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, Bina Darulaman group managing director Datuk Izham Yusoff said the company plans to strengthen its balance sheet this year as well as to replenish landbank.
It will also continue to focus on its core businesses namely property development, engineering construction and highway and road maintenance, he said. — Bernama
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 24, 2014.
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