THE Penang International Airport (PIA) has experienced three flash floods since 2017.
Penang infrastructure and transport committee chairman said Zairil Khir Johar said based on the records by the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), PIA experienced flash floods on Oct 28, 2018, Sept 3, 2019 and Sept 24, 2022.
“In order to cope with floods, MAHB built two on-site detention (OSD) tanks in 2015.
“The construction of the OSD tanks was able to prevent flooding at the terminal.
“The OSD tanks with a capacity of 264 cubic metres and 190 cubic metre swere designed based on the rainfall received by the airport catchment area, which is around 30mm to 40mm per hour.
“The OSD acts as a buffer reservoir that stores the surface run-off and releases it into the open drainage system after the rain stops,” he said in reply to a question by Mohd Yusni Mat Piah (PN-Penaga) during the Penang state assembly sitting in Lebuh Light.
Zairil added that MAHB had upgraded the pump system in the turboprop aircraft apron area and raised the floor level of the terminal building in 2018.
“This proved to be effective. After this project was implemented, the area no longer flooded during heavy rains,” he said.
Zairil said MAHB built one more OSD tank with a reservoir size of 1,200 cubic metres in 2019.
“The OSD was built simultaneously with the multi-storey car park project and the project was completed last September.
“MAHB is currently drawing up a plan for the flow of rainwater from the drain into the sump pump to direct it to the OSD tank.”
The design process is still under way and it is expected to be functional by the first quarter of 2023.
As for the long-term plan, Zairil said MAHB was in the process of designing a larger OSD tank system to accommodate a higher volume of rainwater.
“This plan will be included in the National Airport Master Plan for PIA prepared by MAHB.”
A long-term solution is being planned by the state government through the Penang Irrigation and Drainage Department.
It involves the implementation of the Sungai Tiram flood mitigation plan (RTB) project in Kampung Naran, Bayan Lepas to reduce the risk of flooding in and around Kampung Naran and areas near PIA, he said.
He added no flights were affected due to flooding in the terminal area because it only involved part of the terminal area.
“PIA was not closed due to the flood incidents and flight operations in and out of the airport continued as usual.
“To support the economic development in Penang and the annual increase in the number of passengers, the expansion of PIA is relevant.
“However, careful planning and preparation such as the construction of RTB and other infrastructure is necessary to ensure that events such as flash floods can be prevented.
“The proposed expansion of PIA will involve the study of drainage and drainage systems to prevent flooding.
“The Transport Ministry and MAHB are working with all government agencies and stakeholders to enable a sustainable design that can prevent continuous flooding.
“The involvement of all state and federal government agencies and stakeholders is very important to realise the expansion of PIA,” he said.