December 21, 2010
RM250mil upgrade for Penang airport
By CHRISTINA CHIN and MANJIT KAUR
THE Penang International Airport (PIA) will have a spanking new look in June 2012
under its RM250mil expansion project.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the project, which comes under the Northern
Corridor Economic Region (NCER) blueprint, was carried out by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak
The airport’s new terminal facade will have a modern and contemporary concept with
more retail and food outlets of renowned international brands and high quality local names.
In his address, Najib said equipping terminals with modern public facilities and
delivering high level customer service were key to portraying a favourable image of the country to
“Cooperation and coordination between airlines, airport operators and government
agencies are also essential in ensuring a pleasant experience for travellers,” he said, adding that the PIA would
employ ‘meeters and greeters’ and increase its engagement with the local community around the airport to better
serve visitors to the state.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the PIA’s passenger load had
consistently ranked fourth among the country’s 39 airports.
“From January to November, the number of passengers using the PIA increased by
more than 26% to 3.7 million compared to the same period last year.
New look: Closeup of a model showing the new PIA after the expansion.
“Compared to 2009, cargo traffic has also risen by 12% in the same period to
139,200,161kg,” he said.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, said
the expansion was part of its five-year “Runway to Success” business strategy to realise its vision for traffic
growth, commercial deve-lopment and service excellence.
“The PIA has surpassed its maximum capacity with the aggressive growth of both
passenger and aircraft movements in the last few years,” he said.
The expansion works involve three main packages — upgrading the main
infrastructure, utility and related buildings (package one); main terminal building (package two) and air-side area
facilities (package three).
Formerly dubbed the Bayan Lepas International Airport, the terminal was built in
1977 and has since undergone several upgrading measures including resurfacing the runway in 2007, expanding the
terminal and increasing the check-in counters in 2008 and restoring the taxiway and apron last year.
The latest upgrading was announced by the Federal Government as part of its RM6bil
fiscal stimulus package last year.
Once completed, the floor area will double to 52,000sq m, with an ability to
support some 5 million passengers compared to only 3.5 million now.
Bashir said there would be more aircraft parking bays, immigration, customs and
security screening counters, baggage reclaim carousels, departure lanes, public seating and toilets.
He said 800 extra car park lots would be added to the existing 1,200.
Bashir added that the main significant additions were the inline baggage screening
and segregation of international and domestic passengers.
“The inline baggage screening will improve passenger flow as they won’t need to
screen their baggages before checking in. Better segregation of international and domestic passengers will enhance
security measures,” he said.