Sarawak considering to build new international airport in Kuching, says Premier

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Abang Johari field questions from reporters at the DUN Complex here today. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (May 15): Sarawak plans to develop a new international airport in Kuching to support the growth of the aviation industry in the state, says Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

According to him, the construction of an international airport is necessary considering Sarawak’s air traffic is increasing and the insufficient facilities at the existing Kuching International Airport (KIA).

“We are studying plans to build a new international airport due to the increase in our (air) traffic.

“We are also looking at the international airport building now, I think there are not enough facilities with the increase in the number of flights and passenger traffic,” he told reporters at the lobby of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.

He was asked after he said during his winding-up speech that the Sarawak government planned to develop a new international airport following the acquisition of MASwings.

The effort, he said, will make Sarawak another regional aviation hub for Asean.

Commenting further on the matter, Abang Johari said it was time for Sarawak to have a new international airport because the existing KIA has exceeded its capacity to handle more traffic.

“We will inform you about the location later. What is certain is that it will be developed in Kuching, because the international airport has to be in Kuching because we want it to be an aviation hub.

“We already have a hub for ports, this time we need a hub for flights. It’s not only for passengers but for cargo, meaning it works as a commercial hub,” he explained.

Regarding the funds to build the new Kuching international airport, Abang Johari said the matter would be discussed with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

“Whether MAHB will be our partner to develop this airport depends on the availability of funds.

“Perhaps we will develop together with MAB to build this new international airport,” he said.

When asked on what will happen to the existing KIA, Abang Johari said it could be turned into an airport for chartered jets or private planes.

“Of course the question is that the current KIA is sufficient or not in terms of capacity… so we need a new international airport, only after that we will see what can be done on the existing KIA,” he said.