MALACCA - Plans are afoot to build more facilities at the Malacca Airport in Batu Berendam to lure more international and domestic flights.
This would include extending its runway to attract chartered airlines and private jet owners to use the airport, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
"The expansion of the airport will now depend on the frequency of flights and passenger volume," he said after the launching of Air Carnival by Malacca Governor Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob at the airport yesterday.
Currently, the airport caters mainly for training purposes with one flying school utilising the site as a flight academy.
The airport has two parking bays for bigger aircraft such as Airbus 320.
Liow said the Department of Civil Aviation would see to the expansion of the runway to enable larger aircraft such as Boeing 777 to land.
More parking bays, gates and other facilities could also be made available, he added.
However, he noted that the revival plan required detailed analysis and negotiations with commercial airlines and other stakeholders.
"The finer details on the plan will be divulged once the whole system has been put together," he said.
Liow said Malindo Air launched its inaugural flight from Malacca to Penang and Pekan Baru, Indonesia, on Nov 5 and would start plying the Malacca-Kota Baru route from Nov 21.
"The state government is also discussing with Firefly and AirAsia to serve various routes via the Malacca Airport," he said.
Liow said the long-term plan was to turn the airport into a sustainable and profitable air hub.
In April 2012, the Malacca government announced its intention to transform the Batu Berendam airport into a regional hub catering for Asia-Pacific flights but the plan did not take off.
At another event, Liow said there could perhaps be a grace period for businesses to adjust to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) after its implementation next April 1.
"I foresee there will be hiccups at the starting stage. Businessmen should be given time to fine-tune it," he said after opening a GST seminar organised by the Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce that was attended by 1,000 entrepreneurs.