EXCO Zairil urges Transport Minister to clear the air on PIA expansion

MEDIA STATEMENT BY EXCO INFRASTRUCTURE & TRANSPORT
George Town, 2 September 2021

Wee Ka Siong needs to clear the air on Penang International Airport expansion

I would like to begin by congratulating Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong on his reappointment as Minister of Transport. As there has been no major changes for this portfolio, it is hoped that the minister and his team can focus their attention on a few urgent concerns.

Foremost on the agenda for Penang is the expansion of the Penang International Airport. In 2013 the airport was upgraded to cater to a capacity of 6.5 million passengers per annum (PPA). However, passenger growth exploded and by 2019 its capacity had been far exceeded with a total of 8.3 million PPA recorded.

Hence during the Pakatan Harapan administration, the Ministry of Transport had approved the proposal to expand the airport to a minimum of 12 million PPA. In fact, planning permission was submitted to the local authorities and work had been scheduled to begin when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Unfortunately, the pandemic also coincided with the change of Federal Government in early 2020, resulting in the airport expansion project being put on hold. In justifying the decision, the Federal Government announced that all airport expansion plans nationwide would be postponed pending the finalisation of a National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP).

As the Penang International Airport was one of Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad’s (MAHB) fastest growing and most profitable airports in pre-Covid times, it is safe to assume that passenger growth will pick up again the moment the pandemic is brought under control and borders are reopened.

With vaccination rates increasing and economic sectors gradually opening up, it will not be long before the airport achieves its previous levels of passenger numbers. Therefore, would it not be prudent to begin construction of the expansion now when the airport is virtually empty in preparation for the future?

Besides the Penang International Airport expansion, the progress of the Kulim International Airport project that is spearheaded by the Kedah State Government raises many questions among travellers and industrial players alike.

Is the Kulim International Airport project sanctioned and approved by the Federal Government when they have clearly said all airport projects will be put on hold pending the NASP study? And if it is not, will the Federal Government allow the project to continue? If it does continue, what impact would it have on the expansion of the Penang International Airport, which is MAHB’s “golden goose” in terms of both passenger arrivals and cargo?

Clarification is needed and the Penang State Government hopes that the Minister of Transport can clear the air on both the Penang International Airport expansion project, as well as the Kulim International Airport.

Zairil Khir Johari
Penang State EXCO for Infrastructure and Transport


2021年9月2日新闻稿
魏家祥有必要澄清槟国际机场扩建计划

在此,我恭贺拿督斯里魏家祥再次受委交通部长。同时,在部长职务没多大变化下,我也希望部长与其团队能专注几个重要事项。

然而,槟城首要议程是扩建槟城国际机场。机场在2013年提升,以迎合每年650万名人次乘客负荷量。但,随着2019年乘客暴增,乘客负荷量已达约830万名人次。

在希盟执政中央政府期间,交通部已批准槟城国际机场扩建计画,届时至少能迎合1200万名乘客人次负荷量。而且,有关计划准证已提呈地方政府,并计划在冠病爆发前动工。

惟,非常不幸的是2020年不但面对冠病袭击,还要面对中央政权易手的问题,因而导致槟城国际机场扩建计划被迫搁置。随后,新上台的中央政府就宣布在国家机场战略计划(NASP)未完成研究前,全国机场扩建计划将被推迟。

在冠病爆发前,槟城国际机场是马来西亚机场控股有限公司(MAHB)中成长最快和最赚钱的机场。相信在疫情受控和边境开放后,乘客量会再次回升。

随着疫苗接种率的提高和经济逐步开放,相信槟城国际机场人流很快就会恢复过往的人次。在现阶段机场人烟稀疏的情况下,进行扩建,为未来开放做好准备,不是明智之举吗?

除了槟城国际机场扩建外,由吉打州政府所主导的居林国际机场兴建项目进展,也让游客和工业领域人士产生不少疑问。

中央政府是在国家机场战略计划进行研究期间,批下居林国际机场兴建计划?如果不是,那么中央政府是否允许这项计划继续进行?如果进行兴建计划,那么对槟城国际机场扩建计划,会带来什么影响?槟城国际机场无论是乘客量或是运输量,都是马来西亚机场控股有限公司的“金鹅”。

槟州政府认为交通部长有必要站出来澄两个机场的扩建与兴建计划,尤其是居林国际机场。

再里尔
槟州基设与交通事务委员会主席

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