Project grounded for now

Chow leading a state delegation to check on the airport’s compliance rate. — Photo taken from Chow’s Facebook page

THE Penang International Airport expansion project scheduled to begin in June may be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) was waiting for further instructions from relevant parties on the status of the project.

He said although the Penang Island City Council had given the green light, this was not a suitable time to begin the project because if the pandemic continues, the airport will not be optimally used.

“So the management must consider if the airport expansion is beneficial or not.

“The state was informed that a clear decision on the matter may be made within six months to one year from now,” he said in a posting on his personal Facebook account.

Earlier, Chow led a state delegation on a visit to the airport in Bayan Lepas to check on the compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) relating to Covid-19 there.

Chow said the pandemic had also affected other aspects of the airport, especially the target volume of passengers which was supposed to reach 8.5 million this year.

“The airline and tourism sectors are clearly very affected by Covid-19.

“Flights have been stopped and the ban on flights is not just for Malaysia but almost the whole world.

“I hope all parties, including the Federal Government, state government and industry players can come together to face this challenge together.

“We have to persevere until the situation recovers fully,” he said.

The expansion project for the airport, estimated to cost RM800 million, was approved by the council on Dec 3 last year and was to be implemented in four stages comprising five construction packages.

The project will enable the airport to cater to up to 12 million passengers compared to the current capacity of 6.5 million. — Bernama
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