Penang airport can still handle cargo, passenger demand, says MOT

Penang airport can still handle cargo, passenger demand, says MOT

Updated 6 hours ago ·
Published on 1 Jul 2023 10:57PM ·

The Transport Ministry says the construction of the Kulim International Airport can only be considered after Penang International Airport reaches the maximum capacity of 20 million passengers projected in 2042. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, July 1, 2023.

THE Transport Ministry (MOT) says the existing facilities at the Penang International Airport (PEN) can still handle cargo and passenger demand based on the findings of the National Airport Strategic Plan (NASP).

The ministry said in a statement today, it has no objection to the Kedah Aerotropolis MRO Centre of Excellence (KAAMROCE) and Sidam Logistics Aerospace Manufacturing (SLAM) as part of a mixed development under the Kedah Aerotropolis, but currently, there is no need for the development of a new airport.

The ministry also urged the Kedah government to use the existing Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Alor Setar or PEN to support KAAMROCE and SLAM in efforts to expedite its implementation.

The statement clarifies the government’s stance on the issue surrounding the Kulim International Airport (KXP) following claims that the federal government is being oppressive in budget distribution including the development of the KXP, which Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim refuted yesterday.

The MOT said currently it is conducting the NASP study which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The study aims to determine the direction of airport development in Malaysia in terms of physical infrastructure development, airspace requirements, as well as its economic and strategic impacts, among other things, to ensure the development is implemented based on actual needs supported by valid and accurate data.

PEN currently still has sufficient capacity to handle up to 20 million passengers per annum until 2042.

“Thus, the construction of KXP can only be considered after PEN reaches the maximum capacity of 20 million passengers projected in 2042. It should be emphasised that so far, there is no proposal for private participation capable of financing the cost of the KXP project,” according to MOT.

Comparing the KXP cargo projection provided by KXP Airportcity and the PEN projection provided by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), MOT said the proposed KXP cargo projection was found to be quite high for a new airport, compared to the cargo projection at the already established PEN that has an extensive air connectivity network.

“Therefore, the ability of KXP as an international cargo airport based on the cargo projection provided by KXP Airportcity is debatable and unreliable,” said MOT.

The MOT said the NASP findings noted that 92% of cargo handled at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was from passenger flight services through belly cargo, whereas only eight per cent of cargo was handled by full-fledged freighter services.

It clearly shows that KXP’s reliance on full cargo flight services will not give it a huge boost towards becoming a viable cargo airport as it needs to also rely on passenger flight services to transport cargo.

MOT takes an open attitude towards any development proposals from the state government or private investors that bring economic benefits, competitive advantage and contributes to sustainable development, adding it will also study in depth any development including airports to ensure that the projects are viable and resilient, it added. – Bernama, July 1, 2023.

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