Malaysia Sets Three April Deadlines for Penang Airport Expansion Tender

Kevin Rozario


March 13, 2024

mod Malaysia George Town wan san yip unsplash

Street market in George Town.

© Wan San Yip / Unsplash

mod Chow Kon Yeow Penangs chief minister

Chow Kon Yeow: “Penang has been looking forward to this project for many years.”

© Facebook

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) is calling a tender (made up of three packages) for the proposed construction, upgrading, and expansion of Penang International Airport (PEN) at Bayan Lepas, the fourth busiest airport in the country and a key tourism hub.

Three pre-qualification packages are now in play as follows:

  • Package 1 (WP01): For enabling works, ancillary building, air traffic control (ATC) tower, Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia (CAAM) office, AVES control post, and local infrastructure works
  • Package 2 (WP02): Airside facilities including pavement works and other associated projects
  • Package 3 (WP03): The new main terminal building, renovation works to the existing terminal, local infrastructure, building services and external work outside the boundary.

In a Facebook post, Penang’s Chief Minister and Batu Kawan MP, Chow Kon Yeow, said: “Penang has been looking forward to this project for many years and hopes that the airport can be expanded to cope with the ever-increasing demand. Thank you Federal Government and Minister of Transport.”

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke recently green-lighted the PEN expansion and said that the cost of roughly US$200 million would be supported using the country’s Airport Development Fund (ADF) set up in February 2023.

The Penang expansion has been slated since 2019 but was pushed back due to the pandemic. It is long overdue as PEN has not been upgraded since 2009. According to The Malay Mail, the project is expected to start by the third quarter of this year and take between three and five years to complete.

mod malaysia pax trend to 2022

Traffic growth in 2022 moved sharply upwards across Malaysia.


Traffic is Now Rebounding

PEN’s passenger traffic in 2022 rebounded to 4.3 million, and its current capacity is just over six million. However, in the pre-Covid years the airport was regularly bursting at the seams with passengers exceeding capacity since 2016.

By 2019, numbers had reached 8.3 million, at the time topped only by Kota Kinabalu International Airport with 9.4 million passengers and Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 62.3 million. As tourists return to Penang and the historic and gastronomic capital of George Town—which is also one of Malaysia’s leading economic drivers—PEN’s development is regarded as vital to spearhead GDP growth in the wider state of Penang.

The region is said to have the right characteristics to attract foreign investors and Chow Kon Yeow believes that a collaboration with the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) “will yield fruitful outcomes.”

The planned expansion of the airport should double capacity to about 12 million passengers annually and start the ball rolling in terms of international investment and economic development.

Deadlines Fast Approaching

Malaysia Airports Holdings, a listed company, posted the advertisement for the PEN tender on March 8, and the pre-qualification documents can be obtained until March 29 (for Package 1), April 3 (for Package 2), and April 18 (for Package 3).

Completed pre-qualification proposals, signed by the tenderers, bidders, and/or vendors must be submitted by email to [email protected] no later than midday on April 1, April 4, and April 19, for the respective packages.

Full details of the tender can be found here.