Malacca eyes Unesco boost

MALACCA - The state is vying to be a major aviation gateway for Unesco sites in the ASEAN region through the Malacca International Airport in Batu Berendam.

There are plans for the airport to be the hub for budget airlines to promote packages for history buffs to visit and explore the 37 World Heritage Sites in nine countries in the region.

State Transport and Project Rehabilitation Committee chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong said flights could be connected to the sites in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar.

"We are luring more airlines here and this is an ambitious project that is being mooted by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron," he told The Star yesterday.

He said Indonesia and Vietnam led the list with eight heritage sites each, while the other countries were the Philippines (six) sites, Thailand (five), Malaysia (four), Cambodia and Laos with two sites each and Myanmar with one.

He said five new air routes would be started from the Malacca International Airport (LTAM) by year's end.

The new destinations are Ghuangzou, Ho Chi Minh, Surabaya, Medan and Palembang.

"We are discussing with China Southern Airlines to have direct flights from Ghuangzou to LTAM."

Lim said Malindo Air would have flights to Penang, Kota Baru and Pekan Baru in Indonesia four times a week until July 10.

After July 10, flights to the destinations would resume the normal daily schedule.