BATU KAWAN, July 28 ― Penang government will not be pushing for the federal government to speed up the Penang International Airport (LTAPP) expansion project due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the federal government and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) will have to consider all their financial obligations and commitment on the project.
“So we leave it to MAHB to consider all factors, but the fact remains with pre-Covid-19, Penang airport is due for expansion but probably the plan is now put on hold because of the pandemic.
“I think the (Transport) ministry will have to consider when the time is right,” he told reporters after officiating the launch of the 2020 National Month and Fly the Jalur Gemilang campaign here today.
The chief minister was responding to the announcement by Transport Ministry that any proposal for new airport development, including for the expansion and upgrading of the LTAPP, will only be considered after the National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP) study has been finalised.
In a written reply to Sim Tze Tzin (PH-Bayan Baru) at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, the Transport Ministry said the study on the development of airports and short take-off landing airports (STOLports) in the country was expected to be completed in 2023 in line with the National Transport Policy.
However, Chow said now the Penang airport passenger volume has dropped to less than 1,000 passengers a day.
“I think airport now is more than sufficient to cater to this type of traffic volume and there is no hurry to speed up the project unless and until the Covid-19 is over,” he said.
It was reported earlier that the expansion project for Penang Airport, estimated to cost RM800 million, was approved by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) on December 3 last year and will be implemented in four stages comprising five construction packages.
The project will enable the airport to cater to up to 12 million passengers compared to the current capacity of 6.5 million passengers. ― Bernama