Penang’s Chief Minister justifies two runways

Penang’s Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has refuted claims that current air passenger and cargo traffic do not justify the need for two runways at the present Penang International Airport (PIA).


Penang’s Chief Minister justifies two runways


Penang’s Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has refuted claims that current air passenger and cargo traffic do not justify the need for two runways at the present Penang International Airport (PIA). Lim said the current facility can only cater for up to 6.5 million passengers and this would be breached by 2015 despite a recent upgrade.

He also noted that 153,703 tonnes of airfreight movement were recorded in 2013 on the back of RM3.9 billion (US$1.22 billion) worth of investments compared to 2012 which recorded 123,246 tonnes and RM2.4 billion respectively. He said PIA, having two runways, can cater to passenger and cargo demand for the next 20 to 30 years.

“It is wrong to say there is no space for a second runway as there is land and the possibility of reclamation,” he told media at a press conference in Penang. The call for two runways comes after Kedah proposed a two-runway international airport to be built in Kulim with Mentri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir reportedly defending that proposal, saying the facility could benefit the entire northern region.

Lim nonetheless took pains to explain that he was not against Kedah having an international airport but noted the state already had two, in Alor Star and Langkawi. “Penang is not afraid of competition provided it is done on a level playing field by having another runway, an integrated air cargo facility and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub,” he said.