Transport Ministry, MAHB to initiate land acquisition for Kuching International Airport upgrade

File photo depicting a vacant arrival hall at Kuching International Airport.

KUCHING, Nov 30: Federal Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) are in the process of planning the acquisition of land next to Kuching International Airport (KIA) to facilitate the expansion and upgrading of the airport.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Hasbi Habibollah disclosed that the ministry intends to submit an application to secure funding for the acquisition of land currently owned by Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) under the Fifth Rolling Plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) next year.

“The plan to upgrade the KIA can only be implemented after the land is acquired. This is because there are some existing facilities within the area which must be relocated to SMA land before the upgrading project can be planned and carried out,” he said as per a news report by The Edge Malaysia.

He highlighted this during a question-and-answer session in Parliament in response to a question from Senator Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim regarding MAHB’s plans for the enhancement of KIA and Miri Airport, given the notable increase in tourist arrivals to Sarawak.

According to Hasbi, the current capacity of the existing terminal at KIA is five million passengers per year (mppa), while the recorded passenger movement in 2019 reached 5.9 mppa, exceeding the design capacity by 19 per cent.

In 2022, KIA handled 4.3 million passengers.

Regarding the proposed upgrade of Miri Airport, Hasbi disclosed that the ministry has prioritised the project under the Fourth Rolling Plan of the 12MP.

The plan involves increasing the terminal’s capacity from two million passengers per year to three million per year.

“However, in light of the latest announcement of Budget 2024, the MOT intends to submit the application for this project in the Fifth Rolling Plan of the 12MP next year,” he explained. — DayakDaily