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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Liow confirms Penang international airport capacity to double

liow-PIA

GEORGE TOWN: After years of pleading to the federal government, Penang will finally see its international airport capacity doubled to handle 12 million passengers per year.
The confirmation on the upgrade was revealed in a written reply by Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 27. He was responding to a question from Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan), who is also the Penang chief minister.
Liow said that the upgrade will see the Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas almost double its current 6.5 million passenger capacity.
However, there were no further details on how much the upgrade would cost, nor the timeline on when the upgrade work was expected to commence.
Previously, Liow was reported to have said that the government was planning to upgrade the PIA to manage 10 million passengers per year by 2025.
“At the moment, discussions with the Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad on the upgrade is being carried out. So, the cost to upgrade PIA is yet to be known,” Liow said in his reply to Lim.
Liow said as of October, PIA recorded a sharp increase of 8.2% in passenger arrivals compared with airports in the country that recorded different passenger growth rates of between -8.5% and +13.5%.
He said an additional 449,580 passengers were recorded as of October this year, bringing the total passenger numbers handled by PIA to 5.9 million.
He compared it with the same January to October period last year, when the airport handled 5.4 million passengers.
According to the Penang government, PIA is expected to hit seven million passenger arrivals by the end of this year, going beyond its capacity for the second year running, after it hit the 6.7 million passenger mark last year, authorities say.
The airport is designed to take 6.5 million passengers a year, following an upgrade in 2012. The design is supposed to last until 2020.
On Oct 27, Prime Minister Najib Razak tabled the Budget 2018, where he announced that the PIA and the Langkawi International Airport will be upgraded.
He also announced the construction of a new airport in Mukah, Sarawak and the expansion of the Kota Bharu and Sandakan airports as well.
Najib said a study to open an airport on the island of Tioman was also being considered. -FMT

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