THE Penang government is looking forward to the expansion of the Penang International Airport (PIA), now that the Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has obtained the approval from the Finance Ministry.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, in welcoming the good news, said the state greatly appreciated the efforts by the MAHB and the Federal Government to expand the airport.
“I hope the expansion work will commence soonest as the airport has gone beyond its capacity.
“We are concerned with the commencement and completion of the airport. It is best that we leave it to the relevant authorities to deal with it,” Chow told a press conference after attending the Art for Peace forum organised by the Global Chinese Art and Society at the Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel today.
He had said the airport recorded 7.79 million passenger movement last year, beyond its 6.5 million capacity per annum.
As such, Chow said the state welcomed the expansion plan to increase the capacity to 12 million passenger movement per annum.
On private finance initiative, Chow said this issue has to be resolved as the investors involved would want to get back their returns.
Yesterday, MAHB group chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin had been quoted as saying that MAHB had been working on the expansion project for the past two years.
Raja Azmi had stated that MAHB had engaged with consultants to draw up detailed construction plans after consulting the Ministry of Transport (MoT), Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and the Penang government.
He said the MAHB would submit its plans to the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) by end of July to obtain the planning approval after the project has received the green light from MAVCOM, MoT and the Department of Director-General of Lands and Mines (Federal) as the land owner.
It was reported that MAHB was in the midst of discussions with various parties on investment options and funding models.
Construction work is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.
Story by Edmund Lee
Pix by Alissala Thian
Video by Ahmad Adil Muhammad