MALACCA (Star): The Sultan Mahmud International Airport in Kuala Terengganu has been chosen as the international hub for a new airline, which has been described as a fusion between a budget and high-end carrier.
The airline will be managed by Airwael Malaysia.
Airwael Malaysia director Luke Adam Mitchell said the airport fulfilled his company’s requirements as the facilities and support given by the Terengganu state government were perfect.
“We met the Mentri Besar (Datuk Seri Ahmad Said) last month and he was keen to hear our proposal for the hub, as long as the endeavour provides new employment and business opportunities for the locals,” he said here yesterday.
After evaluating several airports in the country, Mitchell said Kuala Terengganu was the best option for a hub in the Asian region.
Sultan Mahmud Airport, located at Seberang Takir about 15km from the city centre, has an extended runway that can accommodate a Boeing 747 aircraft and a new terminal building.
Mitchell said the airline was expected to debut by the end of October after ongoing negotiations between Airwael and the government were concluded.
He said the airline, which has partnerships with aviation firms in the United States, Australia, Germany and India, would include the state as a stakeholder once the deal had been sealed.
Mitchell claimed that a RM1bil fund would be injected to kickstart the setting up of the airline with the tagline “Everyone Can Fly First-Class At An Affordable Price”.
The airline will serve long-haul and regional destinations, including Phuket, Medan, Bangkok, Bali, Chennai, Goa, Macau, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kunming, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bali and Brisbane.
Mitchell added that 10 Airbus F320, three Learjet aircraft and a fleet of VIP helicopters would be used once the airline service had been launched.
Malaysia Airports Berhad Terengganu manager Dr Ahmad Ramli Mahmood confirmed that Airwael Malaysia had recently toured the airport and handed over a proposal, which would be submitted to its headquarters in Sepang, Selangor.