Transport minister: Penang International Airport expansion to start this year

GEORGE TOWN, March 1 — The Penang International Airport (PIA) expansion project will start this year, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

He said the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has been directed to speed up the expansion project.

“The expansion project will take three to four years to complete to increase the capacity of the airport to 12 million passengers per annum,” he said in a press conference at the Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s office during an official visit to the state today.

He added that MAHB will be calling for tender to implement the expansion project within two months from now.

Loke said the expansion project will be fully funded by the MAHB.

“The Penang International Airport is the third busiest airport in the country with a capacity of 6.5 million passengers per annum currently,” he said.

He said in 2019, the airport recorded 8.33 million passengers per annum while last year, it recorded 4.27 million passengers per annum even though the country’s borders reopened in April.

He said this showed that there is a trend of increasing numbers of passengers at the PIA so there is an urgent need for the expansion.

The last time the PIA was upgraded was back in 2009 and it was completed in 2013.

The expansion project for the PIA was planned in 2019 where its conceptual designs were already completed, he said, adding that the project was delayed when there was a change in federal government in 2020.

Loke said the planning approval for the expansion plan is still valid so MAHB need not apply for a new permit for the project.

When asked about the proposed Kulim International Airport (KXP), Loke said the ministry did not receive an application for an aerodrome licence for KXP.

He said there are already two airports in Kedah, one in Alor Setar and one in Langkawi.

He said MAHB operates 39 airports in the country based on a cross-subsidising model including the two airports in Kedah.

“So, if they are proposing another airport there, MAHB will oppose it because it will affect the airports managed by MAHB,” he said.


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