PETALING JAYA: A bigger Penang International Airport (PIA) is crucial in efforts to boost the state’s economic growth, said the Penang government recently.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said there was a need to expand PIA to cater to the growing number of tourists thronging the island that last year reached its maximum annual capacity of 6.5 million.
Speaking about Prime Minister Najib Razak’s response to the Penang government’s plan that was conveyed to him last week during the Northern Corridor Investment Authority meeting, Lim said, “He (Najib) said my request was noted and we hope the plan would come to life soon.”
In June 2014, Lim had declared that Penang had the option to expand or build a new airport on reclaimed land, while dismissing suggestions that land scarcity could be a hindrance to the proposal.
At the time, Lim was against a proposal by the Kedah government to build an international airport in Kulim.
The Kedah government however said the proposed airport in their state would cater to the increasing demand for flights to the northern region while boosting economic growth in Kedah as well as other northern states.
Kedah currently has an international airport in Langkawi and a domestic airport called Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kepala Batas, near Alor Setar.
“If another airport in Kulim is approved, Penang wants at least two airports,” Lim had countered then.