Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (SAAS) at Subang, Malaysia, is the best choice to become the next business aviation hub in the Asean region, according to a recent survey by the global research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
The survey found that Malaysia’s economic progress and the growing number of wealthy travellers were providing “steady growth in the demand for business aviation”. In a news release, Frost & Sullivan said that the dynamics of the aviation sector in Asean “wherein existing hubs such as Singapore’s Selatar airport and Hong Kong International Airport are giving preference to commercial flights” had presented an “ideal moment for Malaysia to capitalise”.
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, also known as Subang International Airport or Subang Skypark, was the main airport for Kuala Lumpur, the capital, from 1965 to 1998, when Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) opened in Sepang. The airport was renamed after Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj, the eighth Sultan of Selangor, in 1996.
“Subang is already the most frequently used business aviation airport in Malaysia and it has potential to develop even further”, said Nishant Dey Purkayastha, a consultant at Frost & Sullivan. He estimated that the number of aircraft in the business fleet owned and used by Malaysians would grow by 143 per cent over the next 13 years to number some 124 aircraft by 2030.
Most Corporate jets registered overseas
Mr Purkayastha said, however, that just 30 per cent of the fleet is listed in the Malaysian aviation registry, a factor that ‘hampers the domestic charter industry as the internationally registered jets cannot be used for domestic operations’. The report listed infrastructure and operational issues among other potential hurdles for the development of SAAS Airport as a regional aviation hub.
Purkayastha added that the airport currently records some 3,200 business jet movements annually. In comparison, Singapore’s Selatar airport records some 4,900 movements, while Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport, and Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport record slightly less.
He said the existing aviation infrastructure at SAAS Airport included ExecuJet, Hawker Pacific, Smooth Route, Sapura Aero, and Redland Aviation. The aviation sector currently contributes about $23.6 million to the Malaysia economy and employs more than 630 workers.
However, even with the combined push of all stakeholders, according to the report, the aviation sector is unlikely to contribute more than $84 million to the Malaysia economy by 2030.
“Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia are some of the other regional players that can potentially look to develop a business aviation hub. But Malaysia’s existing ecosystem is more developed and the industry players seem to hold a more favourable view of Malaysia. Delays in taking steps in the right direction might enable competitors to catch up”, Mr Purkayastha said.
Feature photo Google Maps/ AEC News Today
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She previously covered police rounds for Philippine Daily Inquirer as a trainee before becoming editorial staff at Gospel Komiks under the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA-MG), Santa Mesa, Manila where she wrote lifestyle and trending fashion and styles articles.