Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Make Malacca airport soar

MALACCA: The Malacca Government has been asked to formulate strategies to promote the new Malacca International Airport as the main gateway for visitors from neighbouring countries and to optimise its usage.

Speaking when opening the airport in Batu Berendam here, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the airport had modern facilities to attract tourists, including medical tourists, and investors.“This is the advantage of having an airport. There will be an increase in the number of visitors and investors while medical tourism will also see an upturn,” he said.

It’s official: Najib stamping his mark after opening the Malacca International Airport in Batu Berendam yesterday. Among those witnessing the opening is Mohd Ali (at the Prime Minister’s right) and Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha (right).

Najib, who is on a one-day visit to the state, earlier arrived on a special aircraft at the airport which the Government plans to turn into a hub for medical tourism.He said among the aspects which the state government should focus on was connectivity by attracting more airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and AirAsia to operate from there.

New destinations, such as Medan in Indonesia, should also be identified, he added. Among the earliest airlines to operate at the airport was Indonesia’s Riau Airlines, serving the Pekan Baru-Melaka sector, he said.Najib said the “Malacca” brand was renowned internationally due to its historical heritage.He said developing modern elements such as the airport would further put Malacca prominently on the global map, adding that the aviation sector had a huge multiplying effect to the tune of 12.5 times.

At a news conference later at Seri Bendahara, after meeting Malacca Barisan Nasional leaders, Najib was asked on the Malacca government’s proposal that the RM60mil loan from the Federal Government to upgrade the airport be converted into assistance."We’ll see,” Najib said, adding that it would be discussed with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.Meanwhile, Mohd Ali said the airport would be among the busiest airports in Malaysia as there were also non-commercial flights, run by the Malaysian Flying Academy, operating there.

Last year, the Malacca airport handled 23,751 passengers

-Excerpt & Picture taken from ' THE STAR ' newspaper.

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