The existing Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh cannot be extended any further due to limited land in the area. (NST File Pix)

KUALA LUMPUR: A new international airport for Perak may be built in Seri Iskandar at a cost of more than RM1.5 billion, said sources with knowledge of the plan.

The state government was looking at privatising the airport project through a long-term concession, they said.

Several companies and consortiums, including China-linked firms, were expected to bid for the airport job, added the sources.

“The airport project will be one of the biggest infrastructure developments in Kinta Valley. The state government will look into hiring a company or consortium with strong financial background and expertise to ensure that the project is completed within schedule and on budget,” said one of the sources.

He said the new airport would have a bigger runway that could accommodate wide-body aircraft.

“The new airport is meant to cater for regional flights from China, India and Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore.

“The airport development plan will include a centre for maintenance, repair and overhaul, and for training purposes.”

It is understood that the state government is awaiting approval from the National Economic Council to proceed.

Talks to build a bigger airport in Perak to boost tourism and other industries have been going on for years. There is a need to build a new airport as the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh cannot be extended further due to limited land.

The airport can only take smaller aircraft and is surrounded by residential areas. A few years ago, the airport runway was extended to its limit.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said in June the state government had carried out discussions on the proposed airport project.

He also said the location had been identified and all that was required was cooperation from the Transport Ministry and Department of Civil Aviation.

He said the site was chosen after considering the economic growth of the area and its landscape.

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