RM1.3 billion to construct two airports, two STOLports

Tan Sri James Masing

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 13: The Sarawak government is in the midst of building two airports and two STOLports (short take-off and landing airports) including Bebuling STOLport in Betong.

Infrastructure and Port Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the total estimated cost for these projects was approximately RM1.3 billion.

He disclosed this includes constructing an extension to the existing Mukah Airport (RM495.3 million) and a new airport for Lawas (RM480 million), as the current airport could not be extended further.

The two STOLports are Bebuling STOLport (RM108.3 million) in Betong and Bukit Mabong STOLport (RM193.1 million) in Tunoh.

“The new Mukah and Lawas airports are planned for the operations of Code 3C (ATR72) with runway lengths of 1.5km while the Bebuling and Bukit Mabong STOLports are being planned for the operation of Code 1B (Twin Otter/Cessna 208) with runway lengths of 790m.

“The main objective of both STOLports is to improve air connectivity for air cargo transportation and to boost tourism.

“The Bukit Mabong STOLport is a new Rural Air Service (RAS) route approved by Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) for passengers,” said Masing during his winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister said air connectivity is important as it facilitates trade as well as increase accessibility to domestic and international markets.

“It acts as an engine of growth for economic prosperity and social progress. It improves productivity by encouraging investment, innovation and business efficiency,” he said. — DayakDaily