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Shahridan Aziz

New Airport Proposals For Penang- A game changer?

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In TheStar today,

 

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/10/new-airport-proposals-for-penang/

 

 

 

New airport proposals for Penang

EXCLUSIVE:GEORGE TOWN: Amid all the hype surrounding the Kulim International Airport (KXP) there is now even talk of two companies proposing to build a new airport in two different locations in south Seberang Perai on mainland Penang.

It is learnt that one private company proposed to the Federal Government its plans to build a new airport in Penang, while another company is about to do the same soon.

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 10km of each other.

If the plans materialise, it would spell the end for Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas which is on Penang island.

It is understood that the proposal for NMIA, if given the nod, would be an exchange for the rights to develop the coveted prime land now occupied by PIA.

A source revealed that the location of NMIA, which would cost about RM10bil and covering a whopping 650ha, would be near the border shared by Kedah, Penang and Perak.

The site, at present, is a vast tract of padi fields, and the project includes an additional 400ha for warehousing and logistics facilities.

“The company proposed an airport large enough to handle 16 million passengers a year, expandable to 25 million.

“It will serve the three states with a check-in terminal featuring a transit monorail for flight passengers to commute between Penang island and NMIA in 45 minutes,” the source revealed.

He said the monorail transit line was calculated to be 57km long, about the same as the train link between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and KL Sentral.

This rail link includes an interchange station with the Electric Train Service between Padang Besar (Perlis) and Kuala Lumpur, and stops at Batu Kawan Industrial Estate on the Penang mainland and near Queensbay Mall in Bayan Lepas on the island.

“The company’s proposal for NMIA was so detailed that it surprised those to whom it was presented to in the Federal Government,” said the source who declined to reveal who attended the project presentation.

A check revealed that the state government might not be aware of the proposal.

When asked, a senior state executive council member replied that “this is the first time I am hearing about it”.

The source said the company did not “ask for a sen” to build NMIA, and the proposers offered to build it in exchange for the land that PIA is on.

“They won’t even need the land until NMIA is fully operational.

“The company claims it can raise enough funds to build NMIA fully before seeing a return on their investment by developing the Bayan Lepas airport land,” he said, adding that the company is also willing to finance the cost of acquiring land in south Seberang Prai to build NMIA.

He said while the current estimated value of the Bayan Lepas airport land is RM7.2bil, the development value would be more than double and “immense” enough to make NMIA commercially viable.

The other proposal, NORIA, includes 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.

A different source revealed that this entails reclaiming 5,000ha between the second Penang bridge and the Penang-Perak border.

“It will be an island. On top of an airport, it will be the largest aquaculture and deep-sea fisheries hub in peninsular Malaysia,” the source said, adding that the fishing port would support tuna fishing activities in the Andaman Sea and even the Indian Ocean on the other side of Sumatra island.

More than 30,000 tonnes of salt and brackish water fish are farmed here yearly and it is the largest source of farmed fish for peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.

He said NORIA includes a mega industrial park for the electronics industry.

“The population in northern Perak and southern Kedah will be the greatest beneficiaries of such an industrial park because it will create tens of thousands of new jobs for them.

“Now, there are fleets of factory buses bringing workers from Kamunting and Taiping in Perak to Bayan Lepas every morning.

“They have to wake up before 5am to get to work. They sleep in their buses. By having a new hi-tech estate closer to Perak and Kedah, the spillover benefits will be more thoroughly shared,” the source said.

He said the prospect of building an inland port in Kedah with a rail link to NORIA was also being studied.

“The company is planning to propose it formally to the Federal Government soon,” he added.

On KXP which is in Kulim, the source said, it “has not been cast in stone”.

“It is closer to Sungai Petani, too far from Perak to give direct benefit,” he said.

It was announced in March that the RM1.6bil KXP has been approved as a private financing initiative and a company to develop it will be picked via open tender.

 

KXP has generated much interest in the northern region, with industry players in Kedah eager for it and industrialists on Penang island feeling worried that it would adversely impact their state’s economy, especially if it leads to the eventual decommissioning of PIA.

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I'm honestly in favour of this plan. Shelve Kulim, close down Bayan Lepas, build a rail connection to the island from the airport, it can definitely work.

 

Let's just hope saner heads prevail up there in Putrajaya.

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There is one big problem with reclaimed land - it is extremely costly.

 

Secondly, reclaimed land is unstable and needs time to settle. Otherwise it will sink - like KIX. Singapore Changi T5 is being built on land reclaimed more than 10 years ago. They had planned for this - so sinking should not be a big issue.

 

Yes, Kulim is not a good idea - it is a political thing and might end up being a white elephant.

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NMIA is much more feasible & undoubtedly less costly than NORIA.

 

The only reason the government would consider NORIA is because some pockets need to be filled.

 

Heck, why not have TF chip in some money to build his own LCC & have a Northern hub...

Edited by Mohd Suhaimi Fariz

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Airport like most infrastructure needs many years to pay back if financially feasible. Believe most if not all developers are eyeing on acquiring and developing PEN reserved land is the real objective like happened to KUL/SZB many years ago.

 

Believe there is land available for PEN to build a new terminal or extend existing terminal.

Edited by KK Lee

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Yes, greedy and corrupt developers got hold of the RMAF Sungei Besi airbase and trying the same thing for PEN. Not sure what is happening to the Butterworth Airbase relocation these days as the new govt. may have stopped that.

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Believe there is land available for PEN to build a new terminal or extend existing terminal.

I'm quite sure I have come across plans for those works before. They wouldn't stop all that now would they ?! :unsure:

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They are going to build a Mitsui Outlet Mall opposite the terminal

 

Have resources to build shopping mall and couldn't upgrade over capacity terminal.

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Have resources to build shopping mall and couldn't upgrade over capacity terminal.

 

One doesn't preclude the other. Also note I mentioned Mitsui.

Edited by jani

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More news about KXP, the future white elephant (unless they close down PEN, which I doubt)

 

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/28/kulim-airport-to-have-two-runways

 

Good on the proposal. They have vision at least two centuries ahead !

 

Btw, in the interim the airport may serve as a good place to park spare aircrafts for the airlines during the economic downturns.

 

Or perhaps this is a much needed capacity to cater for the flying cars ? ;)

Edited by Kee Hooi Yen

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Good on the proposal. They have vision at least two centuries ahead !

 

Btw, in the interim the airport may serve as a good place to park spare aircrafts for the airlines during the economic downturns.

 

Or perhaps this is a much needed capacity to cater for the flying cars ? ;)

 

In tropical humidity and heat? Maybe 787s and A350s (composite aircrafts) would be OK...

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More news about KXP, the future white elephant (unless they close down PEN, which I doubt)

 

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/28/kulim-airport-to-have-two-runways

It is easy to have a clean sheet airport design without any constraints about noise and built up neighbourhoods as neighbours.

 

Whether it is a white elephant or not depends on how it is connected to its target markets. A good and cost efficient land transport (usually railways) system to move passengers from urban areas to/from the airport is a prerequisite to its success.

 

This airport is a creation for political convenience and politicians won't be too worried if it becomes a white elephant. Only time will tell...

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so long government no need to fork out any money, and KXP is managed by a separate company from MAHB, it will be a very good thing to see. So KXP will compete with PIA to ensure their survival and make a good role model and also proudly calling themself a game changer.

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