GEORGE TOWN, June 16 — Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) joined its political foes across the divide today in objecting to Kedah’s plan for another international airport, saying the government should decide instead on upgrading the busy Penang International Airport (PIA).

“The proposal by the Kedah state government lacks facts and figures to justify for a new international airport,” Penang BN chief Teng Chang Yeow said.

But the state opposition also disagreed with the Penang Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government’s suggestion that the PIA first be expanded to have two runways, a fully-integrated air cargo facility and a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) aerospace hub, before Kedah can proceed with its airport plans.

Commenting on the suggestion, Teng labelled it “unbelievable and unthinkable”.


“They are saying Kedah can have their airport if PIA gets two runways, a cargo facility and aerospace hub but this means they are giving away the PIA’s international airport status,” he said.

The Penang Gerakan chief pointed out that the authorities would not allow traffic movement between the two airports in Penang and Kedah when they are sited so close to one another.

Teng also insisted that PIA’s average annual visitor arrivals of five million does not justify the need for it to have two runways as Lim proposed.


“If we look at major international airports in the region like Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok that have two runways, they handled 50 million passengers per year,” he said.

Last week, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir proposed that an international airport be built in Kulim, Kedah, to be a gateway to the northern states and southern Thailand, while claiming Penang won’t have enough space to expand it’s PIA.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng responded by opposing the proposal and pointing out that land of between 300 and 500 acres can be reclaimed on the south of the airport for an expansion.

Lim went on to say that if Kedah wants to build a new international airport that could cost about RM2 billion so near Penang, then PIA must first undergo massive expansion.

He proposed that PIA be expanded to have two runways, a fully integrated air cargo facility as well as establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) aerospace hub.

If Kedah still wants an airport, it is welcome to do so, Lim said.

Teng said that in the 1990s, the then BN administration had objected to the proposal to build an international airport in Kedah near Sungai Petani through land reclamation.

Instead, he said the state successfully averted the relocation and put in motion an expansion plan to PIA, which was completed last year.

“There were plans for a longer runway to cater for bigger aircraft and better cargo facility through reclamation and acquisition of nearby land but these plans stalled when PR took over in 2008 and the current state government didn’t do anything after that,” he said.

He warned Penang that it will only stand to lose in the long run if the state government fails to plan the airport expansion for the future of Penang.