If you want to visit the northern part of Malaysia you might well end up flying into Sultan Abdul Halim Airport. The airport is in Kepala Batas, 13 kilometres from the town of Alor Setar in the state of Kedah, also known as the “Rice Bowl of Malaysia.” The airport is named after the current Sultan of Kedah who is the 27th ruler since the sultanate was first established in 1136. The airport is small and only handles domestic flights as well as being home to the training division of the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base.
In 2012 the airport was used by 433,644 passengers with 18,000 aircraft movements. When the airport was remodelled in 2006 it was done with the view to handling up to 800,000 passengers a year so should be able to cope until 2059. On average there are four commercial flights per day. The airport is owned by the Malaysian Government and the operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.
In November 2010 the airport was closed for a short time when floodwaters reached the runway. Four people died and 50,000 more were evacuated when heavy rainfall and a tropical depression caused major chaos in the area.
On the 4th May 2006 the last flights to take off and land at the old Kedah state airport bid a fond goodbye to the old terminal. On the following day the first flight to the new terminal arrived from Kuala Lumpur at Sultan Abdul Halim Airport.
In 2006 the runway was extended from 1,963 metres to 2, 745 metres and can now accommodate the Airbus 330.
Flights and Destinations
Air Asia - Kuala Lumpur, LCCT*
Malaysia Airlines - Kuala Lumpur, KLIA*
*LCCT and KLIA are both the same airport. International flights use KLIA and the low cost carrier airlines use LCCT.
Firefly Airlines - Kuala Lumpur, Subang
The only international flights to leave from Sultan Abdul Halim Airport fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and are especially for those wishing to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The terminal at Sultan Abdul Halim Airport has two sky bridges and can accommodate one Fokker 50 and two Airbus 330 aircraft on the apron. There is 10,000 m2 of floor space with two baggage carousels, two gates and ten check-in desks. There are places to eat and drink as well as a few souvenir shops for those last minute items. The terminal is disabled friendly with lifts, ramps and easily accessible toilet facilities. When the new terminal was built a surau was included as well for Muslim passengers. Attending mosque prayers can be difficult when travelling and the surau is close to the terminal so there is the chance to pray for those that wish to.
Transport To and From the Airport
Road access to the airport is easy as it very close to the Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (North–South Expressway) which runs for 775 kilometres and is the longest expressway in Malaysia. For anyone using the expressway to go across the Thai – Malaysia border at Bukit Kayu Hitam make sure you plan your journey as the border is closed from 6am to midnight.
Car parking is easy and there are 300 spaces close to the terminal. For arriving passengers car hire is recommended to get around and is available from the airport at very reasonable rates.
The town of Alor Setar is 13 kilometres away and connections are available by bus, train and ferry to take you on your onward journey. The bus station Shahab Perdana has local buses as well as luxury coaches that go to Thailand. If you wish to head on over to the island of Langwai the Kuala Kedah Ferry Terminal is only a short bus ride from Alor Setar.