MALACCA - Five airlines are keen to turn Malacca International Airport into their regional hub, operating flights to domestic and international routes.
State Transportation and Project Rehabilitation Committee chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong said the airlines - three from Indonesia and two from Malaysia - were keen to start as soon as possible.
"One of them met us last week, asking that their application be expedited. The other airlines are waiting for approval on routes from Indonesia's Department of Aviation and also from our authorities," he said in an interview yesterday.
Lim said the Indonesian airlines were keen to cover the Malacca-Medan-Pekan Baru and Palembang routes while the Malaysian operators had proposed the Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi and Kuala Terengganu sectors.
More discussions would be held with the airlines before Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron makes an announcement, he said.
Lim said Malindo Air was now servicing two domestic routes from the airport.
It launched its inaugural flight from Malacca to Penang and Pekan Baru on Nov 5 and to Kota Baru on Nov 21.
The state government, he said, had received backing from the Federal Government to lure more airlines to fly from Malacca airport.
"Several flights would be introduced by April if all mechanisms are in place," he said, adding that they were also hoping for direct flights to China.
Lim said plans in the pipeline include extending the runway to attract charter planes and private jets. At present, he said the airport, located in Batu Berendam, was used mainly for training purposes with one school utilising the site as a flight academy.