8 February 2023
WCT Holdings Bhd’s direct RM3.7 billion bid to redevelop Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport may have ended now that the regeneration plan by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has secured the government’s nod.
But WCT could still play a big role in MAHB’s efforts to regenerate the airport, commonly known as Subang Airport, given its status as the airport’s current retail and car park operator.
An MAHB spokesperson told the New Straits Times that it would conduct a comprehensive engagement with all of its stakeholders and industry players to conclude the detailed redevelopment plan.
“This includes engagement with WCT as they are the retail and car park operator for Subang Skypark Terminal,” the spokesperson said today.
When contacted by the NST, a WCT official said: “Discussions are still ongoing, hence we are not able to provide any comments at this moment.”
On Monday, Transport Ministry Anthony Loke said Subang Airport would be redeveloped into a premium city airport and aviation hub after the Cabinet approved plans for its redevelopment, dubbed Subang Airport Regeneration Plan (SARP).
When asked if WCT would be the developer based on its RM3.7 billion redevelopment proposal, Loke said the government would not be involved in any discussions between MAHB and WCT.
“Whatever arrangement between MAHB and WCT is between them. The government will not interfere as that is a commercial decision,” he told reporters at a press conference.
Previously, MAHB’s plan to undertake its RM1.3 billion Subang Airport regeneration plan had been in limbo since 2021 following a dispute with WCT.
The latter had proposed to redevelop the airport and its adjacent areas at an initial cost of RM3.7 billion over the next 10 years.
WCT, through its 60 per cent-owned Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd, currently operates the SkyPark Terminal, formerly known as Terminal 3, at Subang Airport under a 30-year sublease concession agreement with MAHB that ends in December 2037.
It has an option to extend the concession for 29 years.
Meanwhile, the SARP will see Subang Airport as a regional commercial and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) aviation hub that will have narrow-body aircraft operations again with a maximum capacity of eight million passengers per year.
Following the opening of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in 1998, Subang Airport had to gradually slow down the operations of single-aisle aircraft and eventually the aircraft were disallowed to land or take-off from the terminal.
MAHB has been given two months to develop a detailed business plan for the Skypark Terminal redevelopment.
“The actual business plan will be finalised by MAHB and they will have to submit it to the Transport Ministry and I will have to re-table it back to the Cabinet for approval before any announcement is made,” Loke said.
At the press conference, MAHB managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said the redevelopment of the Subang Airport would not threaten the operations of KLIA but instead complement it.
He said the plan was to help alleviate the massive narrow-body aircraft traffic at KLIA, which currently makes up 70 per cent of all air traffic at the international airport in Sepang.
“This will open up more capacity for KLIA to take on an increased number of popular long-haul flights that are mainly done using wide-body aircraft that Subang Airport terminals are not designed to handle,” he said, adding that Subang Airport would serve as a complementary secondary airport to KLIA.
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