Airline Travel

Jet Aircraft Operations to Resume at Subang Airport

Single-aisle jet aircraft like this Batik Air 737 will once again grace the runways at Subang Airport | Image Credit: JetPhotos
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It’s a big win for local passengers, who will be able to enjoy scheduled jet aircraft service from Subang Airport for the first time in nearly three decades.

Single-aisle aircraft operations are set to resume at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (SAAS), commonly known as Subang Airport, with an anticipated start date as early as June this year. This marks a significant development after a hiatus of 26 years since all narrow-body aircraft operations were relocated to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in 1998.

The expansion works at the terminal, part of the Subang Airport Regeneration Plan (SARP) phase one announced by Transport Minister Anthony Loke in February 2023, include the construction of up to five parking bays for narrow-body airplanes and six parking bays for ATRs. Work on the apron side of the terminal has already commenced, with discussions ongoing for additional parking bays.

Upon completion of phase one, the terminal will be capable of handling single-aisle aircraft such as Boeing 737s, Airbus A320s, and A321s, with an expected increase in annual passenger capacity to three million from the current 1.5 million. The airport, previously catering mainly to turboprop and business jet operations, is now poised for a resurgence in jet operations.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is collaborating with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to allocate airport slots to interested airlines. Existing carriers like Firefly and Batik Air Malaysia Sdn Bhd can retain their slots and transition to jet operations. The slots policy is expected to be finalised by April, with Malaysian-based carriers given priority on a first-come-first-served basis.

The upcoming revitalisation of Subang Airport, however, is not seen as a threat to KLIA’s passenger traffic. With a maximum capacity of eight million passengers annually, which it’s still a very long way from achieving, Subang Airport will focus on point-to-point travel, without transfer facilities to KLIA. Plans for phase two and phase three of the SARP are underway, with discussions ongoing with the Transport Ministry for approval.

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