GEORGE TOWN, Aug 22 — Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today said that a study will be conducted on the future needs of airport facilities for the state.
The Penang lawmaker said a request for proposal (RFP) will be called in September.
“We will appoint a consultant to do this research so that we can be clearer on the state’s future airport facilities needs,” he said in a press conference after launching the 5th Global Business Services Conference at Equatorial Hotel today.
He said the study will take about a year to complete.
When asked to clarify the parameters of the study, Chow said it was to look at the state’s needs and future projections of its needs with regards to airport facilities and infrastructure in the northern state.
“We want to look at all possibilities, to see if we need another airport on one of the three islands, or if there is no need for it, we just want to get facts and figures from the study,” he said.
He said if the study revealed that there was no need for another airport, then the state will not pursue the proposal.
“If the study finds Penang International Airport (PIA) need only be expanded, and there is no need for a new airport, then we won’t go ahead with it,” he said.
The study will also take into account the impact of the Kulim International Airport and also to specifically look at the need for a proposed new airport in Batu Maung, among other proposals.
When asked if the state had conducted further discussions with Kedah on the Kulim International Airport, he said the state has not received any further updates from Kedah.
“I believe it is still in the preliminary stages of preparation as there were no papers presented on the Kulim airport during the National Physical Planning Council meeting on Monday,” he said.
He said Penang’s focus is for the expansion of the Penang International Airport to start as soon as possible.
“The airport has surpassed its maximum capacity so we desperately needed this expansion so we want to focus on this and hope Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad will speed it up,” he said.
Currently, the PIA capacity is only for 6.5 million passengers per year but passenger arrivals have breached 7.8 million last year.
MAHB will be implementing the PIA expansion in phases by expanding to a 12 million capacity first.
The state had hoped that PIA could be expanded to accommodate 16 million passengers.