Sept 9, 2008 By HAH FOONG LIAN
THE under-utilised Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh should be turned into a hub for short-range travel, Datuk Bandar Roshidi Hashim said.
He made the proposal in his speech when he opened the three-day Perak Matta Travel Fair 2008 at Stadium Indera Mulia in Ipoh recently.
Roshidi said: “I am of the view that the airport should be used for short-range travel such as flying to Phuket if the runway could not be extended.”
Promoting tourism: Roshidi (left) being introduced to Perak Matta Fair participants dressed in traditional Chinese and Korean costumes.
He noted that small aircraft could use the airport, which now only serves weekly flights to Medan.
In 2006, low-cost carrier AirAsia stopped flights from Ipoh to Senai, citing the short runway as the reason.
Since then, there have been calls by public interest groups to expand the use of the airport.
Roshidi pointed out that the state government, including the Ipoh City Council, was keen to enhance the use of the airport.
Roshidi noted that tourism was an important economic contributor to the earnings of Ipoh city.
He said that he would be going to Medan, Indonesia, next month to promote Ipoh as a destination although flights from Ipoh to Medan were limited.
“We want to continue to promote Ipoh as an international tourist destination,” he added.
On the travel fair, Roshidi said this year was the sixth Perak Matta Travel Fair to be organised for travellers.