Friday, April 10, 2009

Penang airport expansion slated for completion by end-2010

THE RM250 million expansion of the Penang International Airport is slated for completion by the end of 2010, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat says.

He said work on the project, which is part of the RM60 billion economic stimulus package unveiled last month, is due to begin in July.

"Malaysia Airports (Holdings) Bhd is currently at the planning stage of the expansion exercise and the contract is yet to be awarded," he told Business Times in an e-mail interview.

He said the expansion plans for the airport, located in Bayan Lepas on the island, were conveyed to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng last August when Ong called on him in Penang.

Apart from the expansion of the Penang airport, the RM60 billion second stimulus package, or mini-budget, also provides for the construction of a new low-cost carrier terminal at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Ong said the main components for the Penang airport upgrading works will include upgrading and expansion of the existing passenger terminal, a new multi-storey car park, a new central utility building, security fencing, main infrastructure works, and extension to the aircraft parking apron

"The scope of work mentioned will also cater for low-cost carrier operators," Ong noted.

The Penang International Airport was last expanded in 2001 to accommodate an annual capacity of five million passengers.

In reality, the airport can accommodate only slightly more than three million passengers a year because space meant for transit passengers has been leased to duty-free shops.

Apart from Malaysia Airlines, which offers direct international flights from Penang to selected destinations, other carriers using the airport include AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways International, Lion Air, Singapore Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Airlines, Firefly, Kartika Airlines and Sriwijaya Air.

Source : BusinessTimesOnline
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