Covid-19: Penang airport expansion project may be postponed, says Chow

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GEORGE TOWN (May 29): The Penang International Airport (LTAPP) expansion project scheduled to begin in June may be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd is waiting further instructions from the relevant parties on the status of the project.

He said although the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had given its green light, the time is not suitable to begin the project because if the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the airport will not be optimally used.

“So the management must consider if the LTAPP expansion is beneficial or not. The state government has been informed that a clear decision on the matter may be made within six months to one year from now,” he said in a posting on his personal Facebook account last night.

Earlier, Chow led a state government delegation on a visit to the LTAPP in Bayan Lepas near here to look at the compliance with the standard operating procedures relating to Covid-19.

Chow said the Covid-19 pandemic has also affected other aspects of the airport especially the target volume of passengers, which should reach 8.5 million this year.

“The airline and tourism sectors are clearly very affected by Covid-19. Tourism, retail, and other areas are affected as flights have been stopped. The ban on flights is not just for Malaysia, but almost the whole world.

“I hope all parties, including the federal government, state government, and industry players face this challenge together. We have to persevere until the situation recovers fully,” he said.

The expansion project for LTAPP, estimated to cost RM800 million, was approved by the MBPP on Dec 3 last year and was to be implemented in four stages comprising five construction packages.

The project will enable the airport to cater to up to 12 million passengers compared with the current capacity of 6.5 million.