The joke surfaced in the early 80s after a suggestion in a political forum for the smallest Malaysian state to have its own airport as a means to boost development.
Certain quarters have viewed the idea as ludicrous due to the amount of space that would be needed to build an airport in the 820sqkm state.
Furthermore, the Sultan Abdul Halim airport in Alor Setar is only 40km away from Kangar. The idea was soon forgotten, but resurfaced some two decades later.
PERLIS NEEDS AN AIRPORT
The proposal did not come from a politician, economist or the people of Perlis. It came from the state prince himself, who is known for his insight in the economic and tourism sectors.
The Perlis Raja Muda, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, believed that an airport could attract foreign investors, in addition to easing travel for the people of the state and those around it.
He saw Chuping Valley, an upcoming centre for major development, as a potential location for the airport. The area is located near the Thailand border.
"We are asking for an airport not because Perlis does not have one, but because of geographical and economical factors", he said during an event at Padang Besar here, recently.
He said the airport could be on a sharing basis with Thailand in terms of land usage, building costs, revenue, as well as terminal and runway use.
The prince who had experience in the industry said the concept would be similar to the one that has been practiced by Switzerland and France for decades.
In 1995, the prince was the Malaysia Airlines Area Manager in Madrid and was in charge of Spain and Portugal, before being relocated to Zurich in 1998, where he was in charge of Switzerland, Austria and Central Europe.
Tuanku Syed Faizuddin said if the federal government could consider building a new airport in Kulim (Kedah) or upgrading the Bayan Lepas International Airport in Penang, it would not be wrong for it to also consider building an airport in Perlis.
An airport would undoubtedly bode well for the development of Perlis, northern Kedah and southern Thailand.
If the project is realised, it would complement the upcoming electric train service from Padang Besar to Johor Baharu.
It would also complement the state-of-the-art dry port that the state government was planning to build in Padang Besar to encourage import and export activities.
A businessman and former political leader in Perlis, Datuk Hashim Suboh, told Bernama that he also saw an airport a necessity in the state.
Hashim said there was an existing 800-metre runway in a site at Sungai Batu Pahat that was used for an international air carnival in 1998.
He said by adding another 200 metres to the runway, it would meet the minimum one kilometre needed for a small passenger plane to land, making it an ideal site for the new airport.
The former Perlis Umno Information Chief said in addition to that site, another potential location for an airport was the area off the shores of Kuala Perlis.
The Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man said the state government has forwarded the proposal to the federal government for consideration. The project was aimed for implementation in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
Azlan believed that the availability of air transportation would indirectly help generate income for the state. It would also attract investors and boost the tourism sector.