AviationTwo new airports proposed on mainland Penang, on top of the Kulim International Airport in neighbouring Kedah.

Race is on to build new airports within 50km of Penang

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Penang Airport 190610
Across the Penang Bridge, several new proposed airports within a 50-kilometre radius on the mainland Penang and neighbouring Kedah could soon spring up. Photo Credit: limchintong/Getty Images

Now, there is talk of two companies expressing interest separately to build a new airport in two different locations in south Sebarang Perai on mainland Penang, according to a media report in The Star.

Two new proposed airports within a 50-kilometre radius of Penang could soon spring up, as competition to build new aviation gateways to capture growing tourist numbers to the northern state of Penang escalates.

In early May, the proposed RM1.6-billion (US$384 million) Kulim International Airport (KXP) in the adjacent state of Kedah received backing from Malaysia’s Tourism Ministry.

Now, there is talk of two companies expressing interest separately to build a new airport in two different locations in south Sebarang Perai on mainland Penang, according to a media report in The Star.

It reported that a private company had proposed to the Federal Government plans to build the new airport in Penang, while another company is about to submit a similar proposal shortly.

One proposal – called North Malaysia International Airport (NMIA) – involves acquiring thousands of hectares of padi land, while another – the Northern Region International Airport (NORIA) – entails reclaiming 5,000ha off the coast of south Seberang Perai.

Both proposed locations are within 10 kilometres of each other.

If the plans for NMIA materialise, this could spell the end for Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas, located on Penang island. It is understood that the project, if approved, would be in exchange for the rights to develop the land currently occupied by PIA.

The location of NMIA, according to The Star’s source, would be near the border shared by Kedah, Penang and Perak. The new airport is expected to cover 650ha and cost about RM10 billion.

The proposed airport will be able to handle 16 million passengers a year, and can be expanded to 25 million. It will have a check-in terminal featuring a transit monorail for passengers to commute between Penang island and NMIA in 45 minutes, the source revealed.

Meanwhile, the other proposed NORIA will involve reclaiming 5,000ha between the second Penang bridge and the Penang-Perak border.

The project will also include the building of an industrial fisheries port, a major enhancement to Penang’s aquaculture sector in south Seberang Prai and a new electronics industrial park.


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