Years in the making, the Pahang state government has revealed that the construction of the Kuantan International Airport is scheduled to start next year. With a cost of RM2 billion, it was previously announced that works would begin in 2022 but despite the delay, the airport is still planning to start operating in 2026.
The Kuantan International Airport will be placed in Gebeng and is part of larger plans to establish a 5,042-hectare aerospace city in the area by 2050. The existing Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport, which belongs to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), will also be moved to serve as an integrated national transit city for air, land, and sea in Gebeng.
Plans for a new airport in Kuantan first came up in 2019, receiving approval from the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) last October. It will be built using a private financing initiative through PahangCorp and the airport’s operations will be handled by a new special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Pahang Airport Berhad, while Gading Group Berhad will be the main developer.
Last year, Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said that the aerospace city will become a hub for aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) services with international standards, with an aim to capture at least 1% of the RM15 trillion global MRO market. It will also have an aviation-related industrial site focusing on building aircraft and aircraft components.
The Kuantan International Airport is just one of the several airport projects currently underway in Malaysia. The controversial Kulim International Airport is also slated to be up and running by 2026, although it has apparently not been approved for development by the Minister of Transport yet.
There is also a proposal to expand the Penang International Airport, which also has not received approval from the federal government and may be delayed to 2025. Smaller airports such as the Malacca International Airport and the Pangkor Airport have recently also resumed operations, with the latter planning to extend its runway.