KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 8): Capital A Bhd, the parent company of low-cost carrier AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd, has applied for licence to operate regional flights from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang — also known as the Subang Airport — following the federal government's approval for the Subang Airport Regeneration Plan, which will bring back scheduled passenger flights and belly cargo flights using narrow-body jets to the airport.
Capital A chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the the Subang Airport has always been an asset in the Malaysia aviation industry and that its potential should be fully utilised.
“In big cities like Kuala Lumpur, you need to have more airports. I think it is a very bold, [a] brave and right decision for the domestic aviation industry in Malaysia.
"I imagine it will be more expensive to fly from Subang Airport than the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), but I think it is the right decision,” Fernandes told reporters at the launch of AirAsia’s new AI-powered concierge that replaced its AirAsia Virtual Allstar, AVA, on Wednesday (Feb 8).
AirAsia plans to target a new group of passengers for growth at the Subang Airport, and that routes would likely focus on regional destinations, Fernandes said.
“Subang Airport will be a new capacity for us. As such, we do not look at diverting capacity from klia2, but will target new types of passengers. Someone who may not have flown in AirAsia [will] fly AirAsia because it is convenient. So it is all about new growth,” he added.
In 2002, AirAsia, together with Malaysia Airlines, was ordered to shift their operations from the Subang Airport to KLIA in Sepang, to increase the connectivity and growth of KLIA, the country's premier airport.
On Monday (Feb 6), Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the proposed Subang Airport Regeneration Plan, or SARP, to regenerate the airport into a premium city airport and aerospace hub within the city centre had been approved by the Cabinet on Feb 2.
Under the proposed plan prepared by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), belly cargo flights with narrow-body jets up to the size of A320/B737 or their equivalent will be accommodated at the Subang Airport.
SARP will focus on the development of the aerospace ecosystem, general aviation/business aviation and city airports, Loke said.
According to him, the ecosystem that will be developed at Subang Airport will involve seven components, namely an aerospace industry centre; maintenance, repair and overhaul centre; research and development centre; general aviation operations; business aviation operations; urban air mobility; and regional commercial flight operations.
Loke further said MAHB would conclude a detailed redevelopment plan — including the entire cost of the project — to be presented again to the Cabinet before the end of the first quarter of this year, which is less than two months from now.