Mavcom: Miri, Mulu airports have exceeded terminal capacity

Azmir Zain

KUCHING: Two airports in Sarawak are among the seven airports in the country managed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) which are currently operating above their theoretical terminal design capacity, said Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) chief operating officer Azmir Zain.

Citing the commission’s inaugural industry report Waypoint, he said the two airports are Miri Airport and Mulu Airport in Miri.

“Mulu Airport is currently handling passenger traffic at 120.2 per cent while Miri Airport has a terminal utilisation rate of 110 per cent,” he told reporters during a media briefing session with Mavcom at a leading hotel here yesterday.

The five other airports are Skypark Terminal Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor at 190 per cent; Langkawi International Airport, Langkawi (177 per cent); Lahad Datu Airport, Sabah (140.1); Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kota Bharu, Kelantan (137.5 per cent); and Penang International Airport, Penang (102.8 per cent).

He also pointed out that based on passenger traffic projections provided by MAHB, several airports such as Kuching International Airport (KIA) here, Tawau Airport in Sabah; Sibu Airport in Sibu; and Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Sabah are expected to exceed their theoretical terminal design capacity within one to five years.

“In view of this, the government or MAHB will need to expand these airports over the next few years to address capacity requirements,” he said.

KIA is currently operating at a 98.4 per cent terminal utilisation rate while Tawau Airport, Sibu Airport and Kota Kinabalu International Airport are operating at 84.8, 81.6 and 80.7 per cent respectively.

Asked on how far along can these airports operate, Azmir said typically an airport can operate between 110 to 120 per cent of its theoretical design capacity.

“Once an airport hits 100 per cent, typically the airport would plan for its expansion with MAHB to make the proposal at the appropriate time to the federal or state government.

“However, if the airport hits beyond 120 per cent, consumers will feel more uncomfortable and the terminal will be more packed and congested,” he explained, adding that planning to address the capacity crunch would need to be undertaken several years before this occurs.

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