Malaysia’s transport minister expects jet operations to resume at Kuala Lumpur’s Subang airport, possibly in the third quarter of 2024.

“Jet operations will start as soon as this year, probably in the third quarter… we are doing some renovation right now,” says transport minister Anthony Loke.

Subang SkyPark Terminal

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

Subang’s sleepy SkyPark Terminal will be replaced in around three years

“There are some adjustments in terms of the terminal that are undertaken by [Malaysia Airports].”

The existing SkyPark terminal, a sleepy facility that lacks airbridges, will be replaced in three years. For now, the main carrier operating from the airport is FireFly, which uses Subang for ATR flights to local destinations and Singapore’s Seletar airport.

Lion Group carrier Batik Air Malaysia (formerly Malindo) used to operate ATRs from Subang but has phased out the turboprops. Cirium fleets data shows that the carrier has five ATR 72-600s in storage.

Loke made the remarks during a media briefing with journalists for the opening of ExecuJet’s new business jet MRO hangar at Subang.

He adds that the more investments are planned for Subang, with the aim of creating an aerospace ecosystem that supports aviation in the region and provides skilled work for Malaysians.

Until the opening of Kuala Lumpur International airport (KLIA) in 1998, Subang served as the Malaysian capital’s main airport. For over two decades, the airport has been mainly focused on MRO activities, with companies such as Airod, Airbus Helicopters, ExecuJet, Sapura Aerospace and others present at the location.

International departure hall Subang SkyPark

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

FireFly operates ATRs from Subang

Prospects for the airport changed in February 2023 when Loke announced the Subang Airport Regeneration Plan, which aspires to a “complete aviation ecosystem” comprising general business aircraft operations, aerospace activities such as MRO, and a city airport with regional commercial flights.

The airport is attractive to passengers because it is located closer to the city than KLIA. Moreover, an existing rail line between Subang and Kuala Lumpur’s centre will be activated when the new terminal starts operations.

In February 2023, following the news that Subang would be redeveloped, Tony Fernandes, then chief of AirAsia Aviation parent Capital A, said that AirAsia had applied to operate 10 aircraft from Subang.

“A big city like Kuala Lumpur should have two airports, and they should be priced differently,” said Fernandes.

AirAsia began operations in 2001 out of Subang, but later moved to KLIA.


During the first quarter of 2024, Malaysia’s passenger traffic grew 16.1% year on year to 22.6 million, according to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom)

International traffic for the first quarter surged 39.9% year on year, hitting 11.9 million passengers, while domestic traffic rose 2.3%, to 10.7 million passengers.

“For the first time since the pandemic, the share of international air traffic exceeded domestic air traffic, reflecting a robust recovery in international routes and frequencies as well as a shift back to international travel as global tourism recovers,” says Mavcom.

Cargo movements, however, fell 6.3% year on year, with domestic cargo movements plunging 30.7% and international cargo movements rising 7.2%.

“As we review the air traffic figures for the [first quarter], it is clear that the aviation sector is on a robust path to recovery,” says Mavcom chief executive Saripuddin Kasim.

“Airlines have shifted their attention to restoring and adding new international destinations in their networks, and the establishment of 30-day visa exemptions for tourists from China and India has provided a conducive environment for the accelerated return of international air travel.

”Additionally, despite a reduction in air cargo movements in the first quarter, Malaysia’s air cargo movements have remained above pre-pandemic levels at 100.7% of air cargo movements during the first quarter of 2019.”