GEORGE TOWN, Aug 6 — Putrajaya is in discussions with carrier AirAsia Bhd to expand the Penang International Airport (PIA), while at the same time build a new Low Cost Carrier Terminal here.
Air Putih assemblyman Lim Guan Eng, who is also the federal finance minister said there is an urgent need to expand the PIA but the federal government and Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) are facing financial constraints.
“This forces us to look for new methods such as collaboration with the private sector, Air Asia, to implement the expansion project that will include the construction of a new LCCT,” he said when debating a motion of thanks to the Penang Yang diPertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas at the state legislative assembly here.
He said this same method will be used for the Penang Port and hoped that all these projects will be implemented as planned.
Later, outside the House, Lim clarified that the federal government is in talks with Air Asia currently.
“It is almost confirmed, the discussions have been very positive,” he said.
He said the federal government had to look at a different framework for the airport expansion project due to the lack fo funds.
“This is why we are looking at the 4P: the public, private, professional partnership,” he said.
“When we talk about expanding the airport, it will costs hundreds of millions so we have to look at a formula in which the federal government don’t pay for it,” he added.
He said the airport expansion project will likely take more than two years to implement but the LCCT might be completed earlier.
The PIA recorded 7.1 million passengers last year which is above its 6.5 million passenger capacity.
Lim said the number of passengers have increased by 10 per cent in June this year.