Major expansion plans are in place to transform 100 sq km of underutilized land surrounding Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) airport into a major air cargo and logistics hub, according local media sources.
Developers are hopeful the ‘Aeropolis project’ will help the airport handle a larger portion of the region’s e-commerce-fueled airfreight growth, and one day mirror the capabilities of nearby Changi Airport in Singapore. At present, Changi’s annual airfreight handle dwarfs KLIA’s at over 1.8 million tonnes per year, compared to 726,000 tonnes.
Malaysian officials say the plan is not to erode away at Changi’s business, but rather capitalize on that airport’s capacity restraints. Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong said, “We are not competing with other airports. In fact, we are synergistic to other regional airports and want to work together with other countries.”
Randhill Singh, general manager of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, the airport operator, added that foreign enterprises were increasingly turning to Kuala Lumpur for investment. Singapore has “the ecosystem but because it can’t expand, businesses are looking at us.”