The Penang government calls upon the federal government to prioritize the development of the Penang International Airport (PIA) to address the issue of overcapacity.
The PIA expansion project was planned to proceed when the borders of Malaysia were closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, said state executive councilor for Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Heritage (PETACH), Yeoh Soon Hin in a statement.
The extension will also ensure that the state is ready to welcome international tourists in the best possible way and to help its tourism industry recovery process when the pandemic improvements and the international borders are completely reopened in the future.
“With PIA exceeding the capacity of 6.5 million passengers since 2016, and a record of 8.53 million passengers in 2019, the airport is overcrowded and would leave an undesirable impression internationally.
“In addition, PIA also faces insufficient parking space, water leakage, and flooding in recent years, which have a serious impact on the state and even the country. Therefore, the expansion is much needed for Penang,” he said.
Yeoh's statement referred to the decision of Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong to suspend the PIAs and other improvements affecting many Malaysian airports.
Wee points out that, in order to ensure coordination of the air space requirements, the federal government needs to conduct a study in the Airport Strategic National Plan (NASP), scheduled to be completed in 2023.
Yeoh agreed that for the aviation and tourism industry a NASP study could be needed but also stressed that PIA is a gateway to the northern region.
“PETACH hopes the Transport Ministry would consider Penang a priority to resume with the airport expansion plan following completion of the NASP study, as the expansion would be key towards promoting the state and country’s economic development in the long term,” he said.
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