25 December 2019
MAHB group chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said the airport operator has started the process of pre-qualification via open tender to local contractors to undertake the first stage of the expansion work.
“The Penang State Government has been supportive, including the Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, and Penang City Council, for granting us the development order on Dec 3, 2019 to proceed with the expansion work.
“We expect to first announce the contract award by the first half of next year and following this the construction will commence soon after” he told the New Straits Times in an interview recently.
Raja Azmi said MAHB was confident of completing the large-scale expansion work as the airport operator has had successfully undertaken various works, including the major construction of klia2, second terminal of the KL International Airport, expansion work of the Langkawi International Airport and the conversion of the old Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) into the new air cargo terminal as well as the improvement of the main terminal KLIA to accommodate large aircraft involving the runway, taxiway and boarding lounges.
“PEN is a matured airport in terms of passengers’ traffic with 20 aircraft movements per hour. It is important for us to upgrade PEN to attract more regional and international flights, particularly long-haul flights or widebody aircraft operators to come to Penang.
“The airport expansion will stimulate the local economy in terms of promoting the tourism sector and business developments (jobs creation), while allowing airlines to capture a bigger market share in adding its existing frequencies or exploring new markets,” he said.
PEN handled 7.8 million passengers in 2018 which was beyond its capacity. Currently, PEN is ranked third largest in Malaysia in terms of passenger traffic.
“We expect the capacity at PEN to reach 8.0 million passengers by the end of this year, with 21 airlines operating at the airport.
“We believe PEN has high growth potential and we foresee passengers’ traffic to grow between 7.0 to 8.0 per cent annually,” he added.
He said the expansion allows MAHB to gradually increase the airport’s capacity from the initial design of 6.5 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 12 million mppa by January 2024.
All construction works will be done in phases for both airside and landside including commercial development such as a hotel and a shopping mall in the future.
Raja Azmi said PEN’s new expansion of the terminal building is expected to be operationalised by 2024. It will be equipped with advanced airport innovative facilities include self-check-in and self-bag drop counters, biometric and facial recognition to enable a seamless passenger journey at the airport.
“Upon completion, PEN will spearhead our Airport 4.0 initiative of transforming into a smart airport that uses passengers’ data to provide personalised services,” said Raja Azmi.
The first stage of the work expansion involves the construction of a new building that will be connected to the main terminal. The main terminal will also be refurbished. There will be a new general aviation apron, new weather observation station, new air traffic control tower and new airport fire and rescue service station.
The PEN expansion will also increase the current aircraft parking bays from 13 to 21.
“The bays will be designed to fit five wide-body and two narrow-body aircraft (international flights), eleven narrow-body aircraft (domestic flights) and two wide-body and one narrow-body aircraft (swing gates) ,” he added.