GEORGE TOWN, Aug 7 ― Penang has proposed that the size of the Penang International Airport (PIA) be doubled for its capacity to exceed 13 million passengers.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said this was necessary due to the strong growth rate driven by high tourist numbers.
“Even doubling the expansion of the Penang International Airport (PIA) to a capacity of 13 million passengers will not last till 2025 based on the growth rate of 8.71 per cent for the first five months of 2017,” he said in a statement today.
Lim said Putrajaya's proposed increased capacity of 10 million passengers will be exceeded before 2023.
He was referring to the federal government’s written reply to his parliamentary question saying that Putrajaya was still considering an expansion of PIA to a capacity of 10 million passengers to last till 2025.
“PIA has exceeded its present capacity of 6.5 million passengers, with 6.7 million passengers recorded in 2016, four years ahead of the scheduled 2020,” he said.
He pointed out it took PIA seven years to double its passengers load to more than 6.5 million passengers and is expected to exceed seven million passengers by end 2017.
“Why expand PIA from 6.5 million passengers to only 10 million passengers, when you need to do so again in seven years’ time?” he asked.
He said Penang is a favoured tourist destination as a Unesco world heritage site, as a street food destination, and also for medical tourism.
He said Penang has 24,000 hotel rooms with more being built and claimed that failure to expand the airport to cater to the influx of visitors would be a major economic blunder.