KUANTAN: After years of uncertainty, Pulau Tioman folks can finally see light at the end of the tunnel about having their own airport on the island.
Everything seemed pending until Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that a study was being undertaken on a new airport when tabling the 2018 Budget last week.
State Tourism manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar hoped the construction of an airport would become a reality as it would boost tourist arrivals on the island, which was once voted as one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful islands.
He said the new airport would improve the people’s life as it would boost the economy of Pulau Tioman and ensure the island would be accessible even during the monsoon season.
“The island needs a new airport to allow bigger aircraft to land.
“Currently, tourists can only reach the island by ferry, but during the monsoon season the sea is stormy and the ferry services will be suspended.
“We hope a modern airport will be built as it will help place the island on a par with other famous resort islands in the world,” he said yesterday.
In 2003, the Federal Government planned to build a RM120 million airport in Kampung Paya on the island, which would feature a 2,000m-long and 45m-wide runway to accommodate the Boeing 737 aircraft.
However, then transport minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat cancelled the project in 2009, citing environmental concerns.
Since Berjaya Air ceased its services at the airport in Kampung Tekek, Pulau Tioman, several years ago, only chartered 12-seater single-engine flights are available.