Minister to MAHB: Upgrade Kuching, Miri airports, it’s been prolonged delay due to govt change and Covid-19

Lee (fifth right) receiving a momento from Gordon during the latter's courtesy visit to Lee's office on Jan 10, 2024.

KUCHING, Jan 11: Minister of Transport Sarawak (MOTS) Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin calls on Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad (MAHB) to expedite the upgrading of Kuching and Miri airports after delay due to change of government and pandemic lock-down.

In a statement today, Lee said both airports are the Southern Gate and the Northern Gate to Sarawak.

“From 2024 onward, more international flights will use these two airports as the main gates to Sarawak, especially with the increase in flights from Jakarta, Singapore and prospects from China provinces,” he said.

Yesterday (Jan 10), delegates from MAHB Kuala Lumpur led by MAHB newly appointed Chief Operating Officer for Malaysia Gordon Andrew Stewart conducted a working visit to Lee’s office in Petra Jaya.

During the visit, Lee took the opportunity to point out several issues which were raised by the passengers such as the overall toilets’ cleanliness and maintenance, food and beverage (F&B) at the Kuching International Airport’s (KIA) international terminal and the use of aerobridges at the four main airports.

He expressed hope that the Passenger Boarding Bridge (PBB) operator would be punctual and always in stand by modes for flights which may land much earlier than scheduled time.

Meanwhile, during the visit, MOTS was briefed by MAHB General Manager, Planning, Development, IR Mohd Khairuddin that MAHB had approved RM27.6 million of CAPEX in 2023 and has yet to complete another RM17 million worth of projects until the first quarter of 2024 involving airports and STOLports in Miri, Sibu, Bintulu, Limbang and Lawas.

Khairuddin also highlighted that MAHB 2024 projects will include pavement resurfacing, additional Passenger Boarding Bridge (PBB) for Miri, Airfield Ground Lighting, X-Ray machines, Electrical and IT Projects in Miri, Mulu, Bintulu and Kuching.

On major projects involving KIA and Miri Airport which require federal government funding, he assured that MAHB have forwarded their proposals to MOT Malaysia and will follow through with the Ministry.

These include the proposed projects for KIA and Miri Airport upgrading, which is to increase the movement of passenger per annum (MPPA) from 5 million to 7.7 million and from 2 MPPA to 3 MPPA for Miri respectively.

He said Bario Stolport runway extension was approved with a cost of RM28 million under RMK-12 in the Third Rolling Plan and currently at the planning stage under JKR Sarawak. – DayakDaily