Friday 24 May 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 16): Transport Minister Anthony Loke has affirmed that the Subang Airport Regeneration Plan (SARP) will not diminish Kuala Lumpur International Airport's (KLIA) role as Malaysia's primary aviation hub.

Loke emphasised that SARP aims to transform the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS) Airport into a city and premium airport catering to a specific market, particularly handling narrow-body planes, while KLIA will remain the nation's main gateway, especially for international and long-haul flights, given its larger capacity compared to the Subang Airport.

“The ministry will restrict the types of aircraft operating from SAAS, making it a hub for private jet operations and a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) center. Therefore, government initiatives for SAAS will not impact KLIA's status as a crucial air traffic hub in Malaysia, and [cannibalisation] issues will not occur," said Loke when concluding his ministerial speech for Budget 2024 at the committee level in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

The regeneration plan, approved on Feb 6, focuses on developing the aerospace ecosystem, general aviation/business aviation, and city airport aspects.

Belly cargo flights with narrow-body jets, up to the size of A320/B737 or their equivalent, will be accommodated at the Subang Airport under the proposed plan.

Regarding the suspension of the Skypark Link connecting KL Sentral to the Skypark Terminal at the Subang Airport, Loke explained that it was halted due to its low ridership, costing the government RM10 million annually for minimal daily users.

Its operator KTM Bhd has been instructed to reallocate the train to support its Komuter service for the northern route, in order to enhance frequency, according to Loke.

However, Loke said if the Subang regeneration plan boosts air traffic, the ministry will revive the Skypark Link service under a different operational model.

'Selective intervention' approach in addressing flight ticket prices

In a separate matter, Loke reiterated that the government has no plans to impose a ceiling price for flight tickets, as this could negatively impact air passengers.

"If there is a ceiling price, the airlines will reduce their capacities, resulting in higher flight ticket prices during non-peak periods," said Loke, adding that the ministry is adopting a "selective intervention" approach, including instructing airlines to increase flight frequency, especially during festival seasons.

"Additionally, the ministry subsidises flight costs during festive seasons, as demonstrated during the Gawai festival by purchasing remaining one-way flight tickets from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak, requesting airlines to sell them at capped prices, facilitating Sabahans and Sarawakians’ return home," Loke added.

For more Parliament stories, click here.

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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