Work to expand Penang airport to begin next year, says MP

(From left) Kamaruzzaman, Sim and Mohd Nadzim discussing the expansion plans at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas. — Courtesy photo

CONSTRUCTION of the RM1.2bil expansion of Penang International Airport (PIA) is expected to begin next year, says Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin.

He said the scope of work would include the construction of a new terminal, infrastructure and other facilities for passengers, with the project expected to take between three and four years to complete.

“The PIA expansion plan is meant to cater for some 12 million people, upon its completion.

“We will ensure that the new terminal will have features depicting the culture and heritage of the state,” he said during a working visit to PIA.

PIA is located in Bayan Lepas, a state constituency under the Bayan Baru parliamen- tary constituency.

He attended a briefing session held by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) officials that included MAHB senior general manager Kamaruzzaman Razali and PIA senior airport manager Mohd Nadzim Hashim.

Sim said a premium shopping centre would also be built on the vacant land in front of the multi-storey carpark, concurrently with the airport’s expansion.

It was earlier reported that when tabling the revised 2023 Budget in Parliament on Feb 24, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that the PIA and Subang Airport would be upgraded and expanded to attract more investors, traders and tourists.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke had then said that the whole of PIA’s expansion cost would be borne by MAHB and upon completion in four years, it would be able to accommodate up to 12 million passengers annually.

He said the expansion and upgrading project of PIA could begin before the end of this year, adding that the expansion was urgently needed as the airport’s current capacity had exceeded its actual capacity of 6.5 million passengers a year.

The 88-year-old airport has undergone several infrastructure expansions over the years, with its first in 1977.

It was fully operational in 1979, with a capacity to accommodate 1.5 million passengers annually.

The airport was expanded and upgraded in 1998 to accommodate 3.5 million passengers.

In 2013, PIA was upgraded again to increase its capacity to 6.5 million passengers a year.

Loke said PIA recorded 8.33 million passengers in 2019, leading to overcrowding and many calls to further upgrade the airport.

After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, it recorded 4.27 million passengers although the country’s borders had only reopened in April last year.

Loke added that the upgrading and expansion project would only use MAHB’s existing land and would not involve any land reclamation or acquisition.

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