IPOH, July 10 — The Sultan Azlan Shah Airport —which stopped operations to larger aircraft last year after sinkholes were detected at the side of the runway — is now deemed safe.
Mentri besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir said Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi had informed him that the sinkholes had been repaired and the airport was fit for operations.
“There is no need to worry about the sinkholes as the airport is now safe and ready to accommodate larger aircraft,” Zambry said after chairing the state executive council meeting yesterday.
Zambry said the state had received enquiries from many airlines to have direct flights to Ipoh.
In December, new airline Flying Fox Airways was not allowed to land its Boeing 737 at the 11th hour because the airport was deemed unfit to accommodate bigger planes.
The airline was supposed to launch its Ipoh-Medan flights using Boeing 737-800 aircraft and had to call it off, resulting in financial losses.
The sinkholes were reported just months after the airport underwent a RM42 million renovation to accommodate Boeing aircraft.
The renovation included the upgrading of the airport’s terminal and the extension of the runway by 200m to 2,000m to accommodate the landing of larger aircraft such as Boeing 737 and Airbus A320s
Tourism committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi said, the first large aircraft was scheduled to touch down in October.
She said Flying Fox Airways, belonging to Sri Wijaya Airlines, would be the first to land in Ipoh from Medan.
“Flying Fox is reapplying for their landing rights,” she said.
“I have also received enquiries to have direct flights from Shanghai and Hong Kong to Ipoh. I have been informed that these airlines are applying for landing rights.”
Nolee said the safety Notice to Airmen (Notam) over the airport was lifted in April.
A Notam is the airline industry’s early alert notification of potential hazards or locations that could affect the safety of the aircraft.
“Permission has been granted for bigger aircraft like Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 to land at the airport.”