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New life for Subang Airport to take Malaysia to greater heights

SEPANG: The Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport in Subang is set to be redeveloped over five years by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to help make Malaysia a leading aerospace hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

It will be developed to provide complementary facilities to KLIA, said head of KLIA Aeropolis Sdn Bhd Randhill Singh.

Presenting details of the plan to the media at MAHB’s headquarters here, Randhill said the two airports must not “cannibalise” each other and must instead function as a cohesive pair.

“Doing it together as one complete ecosystem will ensure that each segment – helicopters, business aviation, light aircraft – will have maximum potential to grow."

“Every segment can be at its maximum and we can assume an APAC leadership position in every segment, that is part of our key ambition with Subang airport regeneration.”

While narrow- and wide-body aircraft will remain at KLIA, the Subang airport will provide high grade manufacturing, repair and development facilities for other types of planes like private jets, helicopters and light aircraft.

MAHB will also seek to construct purpose-built facilities for certain investors outfitted to their specific requirements.

“We already have global champions in place at both locations, and are working with them to expand and bring in new players,” Randhill said, listing Airbus, Spirit Aerosystems and Senior Aerospace as examples.

He said that over the “next month or two”, a number of memorandums of understanding will be signed and announced, involving new tenants and partners.

Over the course of five years, with the project scheduled to mature by 2026, it will involve roughly RM1.3 billion in investments from MAHB and third parties, and generate RM5 billion in economic output.

Even with ongoing international and domestic travel restrictions, Randhill said he was not concerned about attracting foreign investors, as their plans fill market needs.

“There is a need for proper hangars across the region, not just for MRO (maintenance, repairs and overhaul), but also to park aircraft.

“We and MIDA (Malaysia Investment Development Authority), despite the travel bans, have been involved in webinars with some people in Canada, in France, and we are still engaging with those investors.”