GEORGE TOWN, May 6 — Arrivals at Penang International Airport (PIA) reached an all-time high of 7.79 million passengers last year as a result of more direct flights to the state, the Penang Global Tourism (PGT) disclosed today.
PGT general manager Ooi Chok Yan said the momentum from 2018 also continued into the first quarter of 2019.
“The year-on-year airport arrival figure shows a double-digit growth of 10.9 per cent for international arrivals,” he said in a press conference with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at Komtar today.
Passenger arrivals had been 407,050 in the first quarter of 2018, which rose to 451,421 in the same period this year.
Ooi said the year-on-year comparison of the passenger movement for both departure and arrival for the first quarter showed an increase of 9.14 per cent from 1,848,789 to 2,017,693.
He attributed the rise to the larger number of direct flights to Penang.
“In 2018, there were a number of new direct international flights that included Doha, Banda Aceh, Jakarta, Hanoi, Phuket, Nanning and Surabaya,” he said.
Ooi said this year, two new domestic direct flights and one international flight increase via Doha were secured.
“Early last month, Firefly started its four weekly flights from Kuantan and commencing July 1, AirAsia will fly direct from Melaka, seven times weekly to Penang,” he said.
He said Qatar Airways will also increase its Doha-Penang flights from four to five flights weekly starting October 27 this year.
Travellers from 160 destinations worldwide will be connected directly via Doha-Penang, five times per week through Qatar Airways, Ooi added.
“As of today, the total number of weekly flights stands at 721 which comprises of 290 international and 431 domestic,” he said.
He also noted that Penang has received another international accolade after it was listed among the “19 Best Places to Travel for the Spring of 2019” by CNN Travel.