Health tourism in Malacca is expected to increase three-fold once the Batu Berendam airport extension project is completed, said Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.
He said the RM131mil project was expected to be completed in April 2009 and flights into the state, especially from Indonesia, were expected to increase.
This, he said, was because the upgraded airport would be capable of receiving the Boeing 737-400 and Airbus A320.
“Last year alone, we received 58,000 people who came here for the purpose.
“This figure surpasses Penang (52,000), and Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan (48,000),” he said to reporters after visiting the airport.
The extension is being done by Uni Integrated Sdn Bhd and is 5% completed as scheduled.
Mohd Ali said that apart from the increase in flights, more tourists were expected as the planes would be bigger.
He hoped a proposal for another RM131mil under the 9th Malaysian Plan would be approved for the runway to be extended from 1,880m to 2,200m and the construction of an “aerobridge” to enable patients to be taken straight to a waiting ambulance without the need to go through stairs.
Mohd Ali said the current airport building might be demolished when the new infrastructure was completed.
“However, if Malaysia Airports Berhad feels it can be converted into a museum, this can be taken into consideration,” he added.
Currently, the airport can only accommodate one flight daily of the Fokker 50 series.
Four flights of the Boeing 737-400 and Airbus A320 are expected daily when the extension is completed.
Source : STAR
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