Ministry: Penang airport expansion to start mid-2020

The expansion project is scheduled to start work on June 2020 and is expected to take three years to complete, Chow said. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
The expansion project is scheduled to start work on June 2020 and is expected to take three years to complete, Chow said. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, March 13 — The Penang International Airport (PIA) expansion project will start next year, according to a reply by the Transport Ministry in Parliament.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow read out a March 12 parliamentary reply he received from the transport minister regarding the expansion and proposed Kulim airport.

“The MAHB has already appointed a consultant on February 15 through an open tender and the consultant is now undertaking design works,” he read.

The expansion project is scheduled to start work on June 2020 and is expected to take three years to complete, Chow said.

He said the Transport Ministry, Finance Ministry and Malaysian Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) are studying the expansion model and the appropriate financing module for the project so that it will be cost effective.

However, Chow said the parliamentary reply did not include the latest discussions on the project.

“It did not take into consideration the latest information and decisions by the finance minister so this reply may be overtaken by later decisions on the project,” he said.

The PIA expansion project is to increase its capacity to accommodate 12 million passengers a year from its current 6.5 million capacity.

“The airport reached 7.8 million to passengers or 120 per cent from its capacity in 2018,” he said.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced last week that the airport will be expanded at a cost of about RM1.2billion to accommodate 16 million passengers.

Lim reportedly said it will be a privately financed initiative (PFI) with contributions by the private sector.

As for the proposed Kulim airport, the Transport Ministry stated in its reply that it is open to proposals from any party to spur the country’s economy including building an airport in Kulim.

“The government’s stand is to support any logistics industry development in Kedah,” it read.

The Kulim airport proposal will be presented at the National Physical Planning Council for further scrutiny.