KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed Kulim International Airport (KXP) in Kedah will be a game changer for Malaysia, said economic advisory firm TAPiO Management Advisory Sdn Bhd chairman Bernhard Schutte.
He said KXP could become the biggest logistics hub in Asean.
“When you have a logistics airport like this, you will have a lot of logistics companies coming in. It will create a wider supply chain, which is going to change the economics of Malaysia,” he told the New Straits Times.
The KXP would complement Kedah’s two other airports in Alor Star and Langkawi, as well as the Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas, said Schutte.
He refuted claims that KXP would lead to PIA shutting down.
He added that KXP would function primarily as a cargo airport with warehouses, logistics and distribution centres while PIA was purely a destination airport.
“There is no way the two airports will compete. They cater to different segments of the market. In fact, they will complement each other as more foreign tourists are expected to enter Malaysia via KXP and head to destinations such as Penang, Langkawi and so on.”
Schutte said KXP had been proposed as a regional airport to serve the Asean region.
Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir had also said KXP would complement PIA, not “destroy” it.
KXP is one of the seven mega projects announced for Kedah recently. The others are a manufacturing industrial and logistics hub in Sidam near Kulim, two phases of the Northern Corridor Highway project, a digital library in Alor Star, a petrochemical industrial park in Gurun and the Kasih Ibu Darul Aman programme.
The projects will cost more than RM3 billion and are part of an effort to draw foreign investments into the state.
It was reported that KXP would be located on a 600ha site near Padang Serai and cost RM1.6 billion.
The cost of building the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was RM9 billion while the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 cost RM4 billion.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told the Penang legislative assembly in April that KXP would be built under a private finance initiative and no federal funds would be used.
Meanwhile, PIA would also be undergoing a RM1.2 billion expansion through PFI.
This would increase the airport’s capacity to about 15 million passenger movements a year.
It is now serving more than seven million passenger movements a year, which is above its 6.5 million capacity.