LANGKAWI, Feb 27 ― The government has given approval for the RM1 billion worth of Penang International Airport’s (PIA) expansion and upgrade, which will be handled by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), says Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

“The actual figures (cost) will only be determined after the tender process as there are also plans to expand and upgrade the facilities and infrastructure near the airport,” he told the media after officiating at the Routes Asia 2024 event at Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) in Langkawi today.

Loke said the government is hopeful that this entire project can start immediately this year and be completed in about four years.

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Furthermore, Loke mentioned that AirAsia has submitted a request to his ministry and has received preliminary approval to impose specific charges for the carbon levy.

He emphasised that the charges are intended to be minimal and will be determined by market forces, as high carbon taxes could deter people from flying.

“This is not mandatory and something the airlines will have to decide for themselves depending on their strategy and pricing mechanisms,” he said.

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He noted that unlike what Singapore is doing, Malaysia is taking a different path to this commitment.

“... but sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is very expensive. For airlines to adopt SAF, they definitely have to increase the prices or to impose certain charges on passengers,” he said.

Loke further mentioned that certain airlines may wish to implement a carbon fee, but his ministry will maintain this as optional.

“There are other ways to do it in terms of reducing carbon emissions, such as operational efficiency. For example, how do we ensure that aircraft can take off and land in a more efficient manner, without taking too long, or cutting down landing and take-off time,” he added.

He explained this is something that needs the cooperation of air traffic management which falls under the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia. ― Bernama