LANGKAWI: Kedah will soon be transformed into an aviation and aerospace hub with the injection of almost RM4 billion in investments.
This comes by way of an estimated RM2 billion via the establishment of the Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub at the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kepala Batas.
These facilities will provide for the final assembly of China’s Avic Harbin Y12 twin-turboprop aircraft and the maintenance, repair and overhaul centre for the Avic Harbin A312E Helicopter.
Recently the federal government approved the allocation of RM1.6 billion for the development of Kulim International Airport or KXP, while another significant amount was allocated for the redevelopment of the Bukit Kayu Hitam commercial and tourism zone at the Malaysia-Thai border, to be open round-the-clock.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir lauded industry players for choosing Kedah as an aviation and aerospace platform to expand their business.
“To us, your being here signifies your confidence in the suitability, stability and potential of the state.
“We in turn hope to see significant mutually beneficial economic relationships taking off from everyone’s presence,” he said at the memoranda of understanding signing ceremony involving Menteri Besar (Kedah) Incorporated and Global Aerospace, Aeroplans Asia, UA Aerospace, AVIC General, AVIC, Skyexec and the Royal Cambodian Air Force.
The ceremony was held at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre in Padang Matsirat in conjunction with the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (Lima) 2019.
Mukhriz said the MoUs were timely with the development of KXP as an international airport for handling cargo, catering for domestic industries to export goods and produce from the state and the northern region.
“Plans to realise that vision were unfortunately interrupted during my first tenure as menteri besar in 2013, but I am thankful that my second term is seeing that vision.
“The MoUs today will further complement that vision. Once KXP is completed, we will have an alternative to the sea port in Klang, or the Bayan Lepas Airport in Penang, in transporting cargo out of this area,” he said.
Mukhriz said that the Bukit Kayu Hitam facility served as an inland port featuring an integrated border security system and a single clearance inspection for goods entering Malaysia from Thailand and Indo-China.
“This is yet another move to improve the state’s economic development.
“All this places Kedah on the right track towards becoming an aviation hub in the aviation and aerospace industry,” he said.
He added that Lima 2019 was testimony for Kedah to be a potential in aviation industry in the region and the world.
“Since its inception in 1991, Kedah has hosted many aviation and maritime players and over the years, LIMA has introduced the latest technologies in both the maritime and aviation industries.
“We hope the signing of the MoUs today will lead to a growth in the aviation and aerospace industry in Kedah and also the country.
“I understand that the Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub will encompass several facilities throughout the state of Kedah. This is indeed good news considering the employment opportunities and growth that can be expected,” he said.
Mukhriz said that Kedah was turning to new and potential sectors to strengthen the state’s economic growth and the establishment of the aeropolis and aerospace hub was a much welcomed development.
“We may be known as the 'rice bowl' of the nation but the state still has many hidden potentials that can be explored,” he said.