Kedah Aerotropolis attracts global MRO, aerospace and aviation players
21 Oct 2022
Kedah Aerotropolis project which aims to transform the state into Southeast Asia’s regional aerospace industry and airfreight cargo hub, has attracted global industrial players.
Among the players include ST Engineering, one of the largest aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in the world.
The company, currently operates in Singapore and Ireland, is among the global players who inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with state-owned KXP AirportCity Holdings yesterday.
The other players who signed the MoU were Beijing-based Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), an aerospace and defence conglomerate and United States-based L3 Harris, the largest aviation academy in the world.
L3 Harris has extensive experience in handling various types of sophisticated and high-tech aircraft.
KXP AirportCity Holdings chief executive officer Nur Salman Saad had also inked the MoU agreement with several local companies involved in transport and cargo handling as well as MRO services training.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said Kedah Aerotropolis would position the state as the Southeast Asia regional hub for MRO, an integrated logistics and cargo transfer and delivery as well as an aerospace manufacturing hub.
“We are also developing Kedah Aeropolis as a regional centre of excellence for aviation and aerospace learning and education.
“With such strong support received from domestic and foreign industries, I am very confident that Kedah Aerotropolis, which includes the Kulim International Airport (KXP), will become the most important development catalyst for the northern region.
“Furthermore, Kedah is strategically located at the centre of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT),” he said after witnessing the MoU signing ceremony held at Wisma Darul Aman yesterday.
Sanusi, who is also the KXP AirportCity Holdings chairman, described the project as “The Game Changer For The Northern Region”.
He attributed the success of the MoU agreements to the state government’s work visit to the Farnborough International Airshow 2022 and the technical visit to the United Kingdom and Luxembourg in July.
Sanusi said Indonesia and Thailand were also planning to develop their own aerotropolis.
In fact, he said several other states in Malaysia were also proposing the same model.
Sanusi said: “But Kedah is ahead of them by miles. We have a comprehensive blueprint.”
He added that his administration aimed to position Kedah as the leader in Aerotropolis in line with the growing world demand for airfreight shipments following the advancement of e-commerce.
“The essence is speed, whoever is able to move their products fast will dominate the market and Kedah Aerotropolis will become the hub of cargo distribution of cargo for the Southeast Asian region,” he said.
Sanusi said Kedah Aerotropolis was also eyeing to capitalise on the growing demand for MRO services.
“Boeing is looking for a facility to dissemble many aircrafts worldwide, especially in the Asia region. Kedah Aerotropolis will be well positioned for that,” he said.
Sanusi pointed out that the Kedah Aerotropolis – an expansion of the original Kulim International Airport (KXP), would also serve as the catalyst for Kedah industrial growth.
“This includes the Sidam Logistik Aerospace And Manufacturing (SLAM) which is expected to create as many as 75,000 to 80,000 thousand job opportunities for skilled workers with high incomes,” he said.
The project is spearheaded by the Federal government through the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).
Sanusi expressed confidence that the Kedah Aerotropolis airport terminal and runway would be ready by 2026.
“We are currently working on fulfilling the eight-point advice by the National Physical Planning Council (MPnFN).
“Mostly the advice is on technical matters such as the Environmental Impact Assessment,” he said.
Sanusi added that the KXP AirportCity Holdings’ board would meet soon to select the project’s key developer.
“We had 20 companies expressing their interest to come in as the main developer and from the total, we have shortlisted five companies.
“All of them have strong financial capabilities but our priority is to select a company which has a clear understanding of our vision for the project,” he said.
In July, the state government had terminated cooperation with ECK Group in developing the project following the company’s failure to fulfil terms set for the project development.
“We have overcome a lot of hurdles and challenges to get the project running and I am confident that it is not impossible for Kedah Aerotropolis to be completed by 2026,” he said.
He pointed out that the immediate goal was to develop the industrial cluster in the Kedah Aerotropolis vicinity.
“This project will eventually bring in economic wealth from the Peninsular west coast to the interior of the northern region.
“It will pave the way for us to share the economic wealth more fairly and equitably which at the end will benefit the people at large,” he said.
From the wider perspective, Sanusi said Kedah Aerotropolis would also contribute towards improving the public transport infrastructure with the development of the North Corridor Highway (NCH) that directly connects to the North South Expressway besides upgrading the main road from Sungai Petani to Kuala Ketil, in addition to the construction of a double-track railway line from Tasek Gelugor in Seberang Perai mainland.
“Kedah Aerotropolis will create a new direct international gateway in the northern region of the Peninsula, connecting this region to Southeast Asia and the world for future growth,” he said.