KUALA LUMPUR: The control of airspace over the Sungai Besi Airport here will revert to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) air-traffic control from Dec 1, marking the end of fixed-wing aircraft operations at the 70-year-old airfield.
With this decision, both the police Air Wing and the Royal Selangor Flying Club will have to relocate their fixed-wing aircrafts from the airport to Subang. However, helicopter operations will continue at Sungai Besi until further notice.
The Air Wing operates three fixed-wing aircraft from Sungai Besi, namely, the Pilatus PC-6, Cessna 208 Caravan and the Beechcraft Super King Air.
The Royal Selangor Flying Club operates three Cessna 172, mostly for training and leisure flights. The police also operate Squirrel helicopters for various duties. When contacted, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, responded via text message: “We have to find space in Subang then.” He declined further comment.
Meanwhile, an official of the Royal Selangor Flying Club confirmed they were still negotiating terms and conditions with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) which will transform the Sungai Besi airport into Bandar Malaysia.
Ironically, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) units which operates and has overall control of the Sungai Besi airport, is expected to remain on the site until February next year or even longer.
RMAF chief Tan Sri Rodzali Daud told reporters yesterday they will conclude an agreement with 1MDb for its replacement site in Sendayan, Negri Sembilan, by February.
He said some of the units based at Sungai Besi will be relocated to the Subang Air Base in the meantime.
He also said the RMAF Museum which houses various historical aircraft will remain at the present Sungai Besi site as part of the attractions of Bandar Malaysia.
On April 7 last year, The Malay Mail front-paged a report on plans to redevelop the Sungai Besi Airport into a commercial business hub, complete with a heliport.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had initially denied the report, although he later said the air base would soon be closed to make way for the “Greater KL” development project as laid out under the 10th Malaysia Plan.
Sungai Besi Airport is the country's first international airport. The 162-hectare airport, also known as Simpang, served as the main air link from 1952 to 1965, before Subang Airport was opened.
Sungai Besi Airport was originally used as an airstrip in the 1930s but was turned into an airport after World War II.
RMAF designated the airport as the Kuala Lumpur Air Base which hosts two operational command headquarters, the No.1 Air Division and the Air Logistics headquarters.
The 10th Squadron, which flies Nuri and Blackhawk helicopters for utility and VVIP purposes, and the Aerospace Medical Institute are also located at the base.