Plans to upgrade the Langkawi International Airport are on track and, upon completion, will triple its handling capacity and expand the terminal to twice its present size.
The duty-free island’s air connectivity has surged with Air Asia upgrading Langkawi as its regional hub as well as the commencement of scheduled flights by China Southern Airlines and private air charters bringing in thousands more tourists to this archipelago of 99 magical islands.
The good news was announced by Kedah State Executive Councillor in charge of Tourism Datuk Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid following the approval of a RM54 million expansion master plan granted by the Ministry of Transport.
The airport terminal’s renovation plan will be a shot in the arm for the tourism sector in Langkawi and the state of Kedah in general. The opening of the border crossing between Malaysia and Thailand round-the-clock will open the floodgate for tourist arrivals from Thailand.
“The expansion is in the design as well as tender stage and things are moving on schedule. The waiting area, departure lounge, business lounge and shopping arcade will be two times bigger upon completing the extensive renovation works,” he said.
He said the expansion works, due to start next year, would take up to one-and-a half years to complete.
“Air travellers will get more space and can spend additional hours shopping before flying off from Langkawi,” Rawi said.
Rawi made the announcement at the recent Northern Kedah Tourism Forum held at the Star City Hotel, Alor Setar, which aimed to generate ideas and industry inputs to upgrade tourism in Kedah.
The forum was organised by non-governmental organisation Forward Kedah and supported by Tourism Malaysia as well as Malaysia Association of Hoteliers whose Kedah/Perlis state chapter chairman is the hotel general manager Eugene Dass.
Rawi said the planned opening of the Bukit Kayu Hitam – Danok checkpoint along the Malaysia -Thailand border would further stimulate the state tourism.
He called on the state and private sector to combine their resources to build new hotels, houses and shopping complexes to prepare for the influx of tourists.
Among the participants that took part in the forum were travel agents and operators from Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Kota Setar and Pendang districts in Kedah.