US$22.5 million to be spent for upgrading Malaysian airports
Upgrade follows a more than 13 per cent jump in the country’s passenger numbers last month
By Wong Ee Lin
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will spend more than RM100 million (US$22,471,913) to upgrade the 39 airports it manages in the country this year and next.
Its managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said the works include upgrading the toilets and religious assembly buildings at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.
“We are seeing a lot of umrah traffic. KLIA is not designed to cater for [that kind] of volume [and thus the upgrade],” he said after the kick-off of MAHB’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Badlisham said the airport operator constantly upgrades its airports, adding that the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kota Baru is one of them.
He noted that MAHB is in talks with the Kedah state government to upgrade the Langkawi airport.
Meanwhile, the airport operator has no plans to revise upwards its five per cent passenger target growth for 2017. MAHB’s passenger traffic kicked off to a good start this year, with 7.83 million passengers passing through Malaysian airports in January, up 13.3 per cent from 6.92 million a year ago.
But Badlisham said MAHB will continue to monitor passenger traffic and may revise its target in the second half of 2017.
He also said MAHB plans to attract about five to six new airlines to KLIA this year, noting that Philippine Airlines will resume flights to Kuala Lumpur on June 8 after a three-year respite.
“For foreign carriers, our priority is in Asia as the region holds the highest growth for passenger traffic. So, we are in active talks with Chinese carriers [to operate out of Malaysia],” he said, adding that the group is also trying to woo airlines in Thailand and India which currently do not fly to Malaysia to do so.