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Penang International Airport

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Penang International AirportPenang International Airport (6 January, 2017)

This article is about the airport. If you are arriving by plane, please read arriving by plane in Penang for useful travel tips to visitors.

The Penang International Airport (PEN), (GPS: 5.29357, 100.26601), or Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Pulau Pinang, is the main airport for the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia. Formerly known as the Bayan Lepas International Airport, it is located in Bayan Lepas, on the southeastern part of Penang Island, about 16 km (10 miles) from George Town.

The Penang International Airport is on the map of Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah

Penang International AirportPenang International Airport (26 October, 2013)

Penang International Airport departure concourse (27 October, 2012)

Aerial view of Penang International AirportAerial view of Penang International Airport
© Kelly Walther

The Penang International Airport, before the renovation to its terminal building (22 May 2009)

The history of the Penang International Airport goes back to 1935, making it the oldest airport in the country. It was built on swampy land that was drained and reclaimed. A major expansion was carried out in the 1970s. During this expansion project, a new terminal building in the Minangkabau design was constructed while the runway was extended to allow the airport to accommodate the Boeing 747.

The Penang International Airport new terminal building and runway were officially opened on 2 June, 1979 by the then Yang Di-Pertua Negri of Penang, Tun Haji Sardon bin Jubir, with his consort Toh Puan Hajjah Sadiah, in a ceremony attended by the Chief Minister of Penang, the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, the Minister of Transport Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam, Minister of Works and Utilities Datuk Lee San Choon, and other VIPs.

Penang International Airport TerminalPenang International Airport Terminal, as seen from Permatang Damar Laut. (15 December, 2018)

Penang International Airport TerminalPenang International Airport Terminal, as seen from Permatang Damar Laut, before the terminal was renovated. (17 October, 2008)

Aircraft guiding lights of the Penang International Airport, at Permatang Damar LautAircraft guiding lights of the Penang International Airport, at Permatang Damar Laut (15 December, 2018)

Penang International Airport on Google Maps Street View

Since its opening, the Penang International Airport terminal building has been renovated and expanded a few times, the last in early 2009, when a new check-in wing was added to the south side of the terminal. In 2011, the terminal underwent yet another renovation and expansion programme at a cost of RM250 million, which will be completed at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013 (according to the press release, it was scheduled for 24 November 2012).

The Penang International Airport presently has an annual capacity of 5 million passengers. It handled 4.5 million passengers in 2011. The airport has 64 check-in desks and 11 gates, 8 aerobridges and 3 baggage claim belts. It also has cargo facilities including seven freighter docks for the B747.

Eateries and kiosks at the Penang International Airport departure concourse (27 October, 2012)

Penang International Airport (28 October 2006)

Presently, the airlines flying to the Penang International Airport includes AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Firefly, Jetstar Asia, China Southern Airlines, Kartika Airlines, Lion Air, Malaysia Airlines, Silkair, Singapore Airlines, Sriwijaya Air, Thai Airways and Tiger Airways. Cargo airlines using the airport includes Air Hong Kong, Asiana Cargo, Cathay Pacific Cargo, China Airlines Cargo, DHL Air / Transmile, FedEx, KLM Cargo, Korean Air Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, MASkargo and UPS.

In terms of size, Penang International Airport is the fourth biggest airport in Malaysia behind KLIA, Kota Kinabalu International Airport and Kuching International Airport. In terms of passenger movement, it is the third busiest airport in Malaysia after KLIA and Kota Kinabalu International Airport. In 2008, it handled 3.4 million passengers, 43,796 aircraft movements, and handled 192,936 metric tonnes of cargo.

Penang International AirportPenang International Airport aerobridge (28 October 2006)

Updates on the Penang International Airport

9 November, 2018
Malay Mail reports that the Penang government wants a new international airport to be built on reclaimed land in Batu Maung. However, the airport will only be realised after 2050. According to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, the state government will conduct a feasibility study on this project soon.

29 August, 2018
The Star reports that work on the Penang Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) could start in 2019, and the terminal would be completed in 2022. 7 August, 2018
The Star on its front page reported that plans are afoot to build a low-cost carrier terminal at the Penang International Airport. The terminal will most likely occupy a 34-heactare plot to the south of the international terminal. The idea of building a low-cost carrier terminal revisits the plan initiated in 2007.

24 September, 2014
StarMetro reported Penang Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (REHDA) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan proposing that the Penang International Airport be relocated to a man-made island, so that a bigger airport can be built there, and the present 323-hectare airport site be used for property development.

14 June, 2014
The Star reported (Kedah has right to propose) Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as saying that land could be reclaimed to the south of the Penang airport and provisions had been made to reclaim between 121 hectares and 202 hectares if necessary.

Penang International Airport at duskPenang International Airport at dusk (3 May, 2015)

Penang International Airport at duskPenang International Airport at dusk (3 May, 2015)

Penang International Airport at duskPenang International Airport at dusk (3 May, 2015)

Flying into the Penang International Airport

Read Arriving by Plane in Penang.

Driving to the Penang International Airport

If you're dropping someone off at the airport, take the ramp to go to the curbside of the Departure concourse at level one. If you're fetching someone, continue on the curb side at ground level. The road splits into three channels. Take the middle traffic channel to reach the private vehicle curbside.

Car parks are available immediately in front of the terminal building as well as across the driveway. These are operational 24 hours a day. Parking fee is RM2 per hour or part thereof, or RM20 per 24-hour block. If you lose your ticket, you have to pay RM50.

Penang International Airport Car Park (27 October, 2012)

Getting to the Penang International Airport by bus

The Penang International Airport is served by Rapid Penang Bus 102, 306, 401, 401E and 401E stop at the terminal building of the airport. Rapid Penang Route 102, relaunched on 15 March 2010, links the airport with the beach belt of Batu Ferringhi.

Escalator from the Arrival concourse to the Departure concourse (27 October, 2012)

Fast food outlet at the Penang International Airport (27 October, 2012)

Flying out from Penang International Airport

The Departure concourse of the Penang International Airport is on the First Floor. If you are arriving by private car or city taxi, you can be driven right to the curbside.

If you take the bus, it goes to the bus stop on the ground floor of the terminal. From there, you enter the Arrival concourse, and take the escalator to the Departure concourse.

Check-in counters at the Departure concourse, Penang International Airport (27 October, 2012)

The Domestic Departure Hall is on the far left of the Departure concourse. To its right is the entrance to the International Departure Hall, with a bank of Immigration counters for passport clearance. The middle portion of the Departure concourse has shops and restaurants. On the far right of the Departure concourse are the check-in counters of various airlines. These are contained within the main terminal as well as the new annex.

Gates to the aerobridges as well as staircases to the parking apron line the Departure Hall, which (at time of writing) does not separate between the domestic and international flights. Hence passengers are free to move about in the lounge area and do their last-minute shopping at the duty-free outlets.

Check-in counters at the new Annex, Penang International Airport (27 October, 2012)

Nearby Sights

Updates on the Penang International Airport

24 September 2012: The Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng calls for the airport to be renamed the Penang P. Ramlee International Airport, in recognition of the late entertainer who was born in Penang. However this might not materialize as it did not receive complete support from all quarters, some of which feel that it is more appropriate for the entertainer's name to grace Dewan Sri Pinang instead.

21 December 2010: The Penang International Airport will be given a RM250 million upgrade, slated to be completed by June 2012. (On 17 October 2012, it was announced that the completion date was moved to 24 November). The upgrade involves increasing the floor area to 52,000 sq m, enabling the airport to support 5 million passenger movement a year, from the present 3.5 million. The number of car parks will also be increased from 1,200 to 2,000. There will also be more aircraft parking bays, immigration, customs and security screening counters, baggage reclaim carousels, departure lanes, public seating and toilets. There will be a full segregation of domestic and international passengers.

May 2009: Plans are on the drawing board to add a low cost carrier terminal to the airport. At time of writing, the plans are said to be in the final negotiations. Penang International Airport won the Airport of the Year award for 2009 Frost and Sullivan Asia Pacific Aerospace and Defence for airports below 15-million-passenger category.

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