Penang International Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Penang International Airport

Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Pulau Pinang
Penang airport view.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment of Malaysia
OperatorMalaysia Airports
ServesGreater Penang
LocationBayan Lepas, Barat Daya, 11900 Penang, Malaysia
Hub for
Focus city for
Time zoneMST (UTC+08:00)
Elevation AMSL11 ft / 3 m
Coordinates05°17′49.7″N 100°16′36.71″E / 5.297139°N 100.2768639°E / 5.297139; 100.2768639Coordinates: 05°17′49.7″N 100°16′36.71″E / 5.297139°N 100.2768639°E / 5.297139; 100.2768639
Penang state in Malaysia
Penang state in Malaysia
PEN /WMKP is located in George Town, Penang
Location within    George Town in    Penang
PEN /WMKP is located in Penang
PEN /WMKP (Penang)
PEN /WMKP is located in Peninsular Malaysia
PEN /WMKP (Peninsular Malaysia)
PEN /WMKP is located in Malaysia
PEN /WMKP (Malaysia)
PEN /WMKP is located in Southeast Asia
PEN /WMKP (Southeast Asia)
PEN /WMKP is located in Asia
PEN /WMKP (Asia)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
04/22 3,354 11,004 Asphalt
Statistics (2020)
Passenger1,826,121 (Decrease 78.1%)
Airfreight (tonnes)137,685 (Decrease 1.4%)
Aircraft movements30,433 (Decrease 62.2%)

Penang International Airport (IATA: PEN, ICAO: WMKP) is one of the busiest airports in Malaysia. The airport is located near Bayan Lepas at the southeastern tip of Penang Island, 16 km (9.9 mi) south of the city centre.[1] Previously known as the Bayan Lepas International Airport, it was opened in 1935, making it one of the oldest airports in the country.

Penang International Airport is a medium-sized airport with frequent connections to major cities in Asia such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Seoul and Taipei, and serves as the main airport for northwestern Malaysia. In addition, Penang International Airport is the third-busiest airport in Malaysia in terms of passenger traffic and the second-busiest in terms of cargo tonnage.[2] The airport is also one of the hubs of the Malaysian low-cost carriers, AirAsia and Firefly.[3]

Passengers arriving from the north will have a view of George Town, Butterworth, and both the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge. Waiting times for check-in and baggage claims are relatively short compared to other larger regional airports. The airport is not crowded and basic facilities are available for users.

Penang International Airport won the Best Emerging Airport (Asia) award in the 23rd annual Asian Freight and Supply Chain Awards 2009 (AFSCA), and was named the Airport of the Year (below 15 million passengers annually) in the 2009 Frost and Sullivan Asia Pacific Aerospace and Defence Awards.


Aerial view of Penang International Airport.

The airport, then named Bayan Lepas International Airport, was completed in 1935, when Penang was part of the British crown colony of the Straits Settlements.[4]

When the Imperial Japanese Army attacked Penang in December 1941, the airport was one of the first places to be hit by Japanese air raids.[5] The Japanese sought to neutralise the British and Australian air force units by targeting all airfields in Penang, including RAF Butterworth and the Bayan Lepas International Airport.

In the 1970s, a major expansion of the airport was carried out, during which a terminal building of Minangkabau architecture was built and the runway extended to accommodate Boeing 747s, then the largest passenger jet aircraft. Upon the completion of the expansion works in 1979, the airport was renamed Penang International Airport.[4]

Penang International Airport at night.

The airport was renovated between 2009 and 2013, giving the terminal building a major facelift. At present, Penang International Airport is run by the national airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB). Capacity was expanded to 6.5 million in 2012.

In December 2019, MAHB announced a RM800 million expansion plan for the airport, with work on 4 phases starting in March 2020 and to be completed by 2024. This would raise the capacity of the airport from 6.5 million passengers yearly, to 12 million a year. This compares with actual passenger numbers of 9.5 million. However, in May 2020, Chief Minister of Penang Chow Kon Yeow says the planned expansion of the airport might well be by between six months to a year due as a result of the COVID-19.[6][7][8]

On 5 April 2020, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that all international flights into Penang had ceased, although domestic flights continued.[9]


ATR 72-500 of Firefly air company standing at Penang International Airport.

Penang International Airport has the capacity to handle up to 6.5 million passengers per year, while its cargo centre can handle 360,000 tonnes of cargo within the same annual period.[10] Its sole runway is about 3.35 km (2.08 mi) in total length.

The airport also has 64 check-in desks and 11 gates, 12 aerobridges and three luggage claim belts. The terminal building houses various restaurants, boutiques and shops, as well as premium passenger lounges.

The airport became a source of contention between the Penang state government and the Malaysian federal government in recent years, as transportation infrastructure throughout Malaysia falls under the purview of the latter authority. Calls by the Penang state government to expand the airport largely went unheeded by the Malaysian federal government, even though the airport has exceeded its maximum capacity of 6.5 million passengers.[11] In 2017, the federal authorities finally announced plans to expand the airport to accommodate 12 million passengers per year by 2029.[12][13]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


AirAsia Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur–International, Langkawi, Kota Bharu, Johor Bahru, Kuching
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan (resumes 23 January 2022)[14]
Firefly Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Langkawi, Kota Bharu
Jetstar Asia Airways Singapore
Malaysia Airlines Kota Kinabalu (begins 1 December 2021), Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuching (begins 1 December 2021)
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur–Subang
Scoot Singapore
Starlux Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan[15]
Thai Smile Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi


Cathay PacificHong Kong (Preighter)
Cathay Pacific CargoSingapore, Phnom Penh
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan (Preighter)
China Airlines Cargo Taipei–Taoyuan
DHL Aviation
operated by Air Hong Kong
Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong
FedEx ExpressBangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Guangzhou, Taipei–Taoyuan, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City
My Jet Xpress AirlinesKuala Lumpur–International, Singapore
Korean Air Cargo Seoul–Incheon
UPS AirlinesKuala Lumpur–International
Vietnam AirlinesHo Chi Minh City (Preighter)

Operational statistics[edit]

Penang International Airport is the third busiest airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic after Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and handles the second largest cargo tonnage of all Malaysian airports after Kuala Lumpur International Airport.[2] As of 2017, the airport posted a record 7.23 million tourist arrivals.[16]

Notably, Malaysia Airlines subsidiary, Firefly, has made Penang International Airport one of its main hubs. AirAsia, another domestic budget airliner, also operates out of Penang International Airport as one of its secondary hubs.[3]

Annual passenger traffic at PEN airport. See source Wikidata query.
Annual passenger numbers and aircraft statistics
% change
% change
% change
2003 2,334,669 Steady 197,567 Steady 30,558 Steady
2004 2,987,993 Increase 28.0 212,369 Increase 7.5 33,069 Increase 8.2
2005 2,834,545 Decrease 5.1 221,971 Increase 4.5 34,616 Increase 4.7
2006 3,103,772 Increase 9.5 225,952 Increase 1.8 36,259 Increase 4.7
2007 3,173,117 Increase 2.2 208,582 Decrease 7.7 39,265 Increase 8.3
2008 3,405,762 Increase 7.3 192,936 Decrease 7.5 43,796 Increase 11.5
2009 3,325,423 Decrease 2.4 137,775 Decrease 28.6 43,621 Decrease 0.4
2010 4,166,969 Increase 25.3 147,057 Increase 6.7 50,205 Increase 15.1
2011 4,600,274 Increase 10.4 131,846 Decrease 10.3 54,713 Increase 9.0
2012 4,767,815 Increase 3.6 123,246 Decrease 6.5 53,766 Decrease 1.7
2013 5,487,751 Increase 15.1 153,703 Increase 24.7 60,020 Increase 11.6
2014 6,041,583 Increase 10.1 141,213 Decrease 8.1 65,734 Increase 9.5
2015 6,258,756 Increase 3.6 130,392 Decrease 7.7 66,670 Increase 1.4
2016 6,684,026 Increase 6.8 130,491 Increase 0.1 66,247 Decrease 0.6
2017 7,232,097 Increase 8.2 134,187 Increase 2.8 70,609 Increase 6.6
2018 7,790,423 Increase 7.7 145,649 Increase 8.5 75,552 Increase 7.0
2019 8,331,291 Increase 6.9 139,646 Decrease 4.1 80,598 Increase 6.7
2020 1,826,121 Decrease 78.1 137,685 Decrease 1.4 30,433 Decrease 62.2
Source: Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad[17]
Busiest international flights out of Penang International Airport by frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (weekly) Airlines Note
1 Singapore Singapore, Singapore 8 3K, TR
2 Taiwan Taipei, Taiwan 3 JX
3 Hong Kong Hong Kong, Hong Kong 1 CX
Busiest domestic routes out of Penang International Airport by frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (weekly) Airlines Note
1 Selangor Subang, Selangor 61 FY, OD
2 Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur 41 AK, MH
3 Kedah Langkawi, Kedah 21 AK, FY
4 Johor Johor Bahru, Johor 10 AK
5 Kelantan Kota Bharu, Kelantan 6 AK, FY
6 Sabah Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 5 AK
7 Sarawak Kuching, Sarawak 2 AK
Top 10 nationalities of international arrivals (2016)
Rank Nationality Arrivals
1 Indonesia Indonesia 264,546
2 Singapore Singapore 154,063
3 China China 59,661
4 Japan Japan 24,065
5 Australia Australia 20,232
6 United States United States 17,099
7 United Kingdom United Kingdom 16,956
8 Thailand Thailand 15,471
9 Taiwan Taiwan 14,225
10 India India 7,401
Total 593,719
Source: Immigration Department of Malaysia[18]

Ground transportation[edit]

Rapid Penang has provided five bus routes to and from Penang International Airport, connecting the airport with various parts of Penang Island.

The Rapid Penang routes that pass through the Penang International Airport include:

  • AT: Penang International Airport-KOMTAR-Penang International Airport
  • 102: Penang International Airport-Penang National Park-Penang International Airport
  • 306: Penang International Airport-Penang General Hospital-Penang International Airport
  • 401: Teluk Kumbar-KOMTAR-Teluk Kumbar
  • 401E: Balik Pulau (via Teluk Kumbar) -KOMTAR-Balik Pulau (via Teluk Kumbar)

In addition, as of December 2020, the state government is planning a light-rail project that will connect Penang International Airport and Komtar with 27 intermediate stations.[19]


  • 28 March 1981: Garuda_Indonesia_Flight_206 refueled at Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas, Malaysia. When they were refueling, the hijackers removed an old lady named Hulda Panjaitan from the plane because she kept crying. Subsequently, the plane took off and landed at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok.
  • October 1985: Barlow and Chambers Two British Australian criminals were caught at the airport, trying to smuggle drugs. Both were arrested and later sentenced to death
  • 9 Jan 2000: Korean Air Cargo Flight 367, a Boeing 747-230F while approaching Runway 22.The aircraft lost a flap section. The flap punctured the fuselage, causing a 1 m-wide hole.
  • 1 Jan 2020: A bush fire near the airport put authorities on alert, but flights were not delayed by the incident.[20]


  1. ^ WMKP – PENANG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT at Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia
  2. ^ a b "Malaysia Airports". Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b "AirAsia to turn Penang into fourth hub in Malaysia". The Star. 8 July 2009.[dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Handy Penang airport information from Skyscanner". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  5. ^ Barber, Andrew (2010). Penang at War : A History of Penang During and Between the First and Second World Wars. AB&A.
  6. ^ "Penang airport gears up for $261m upgrade to handle 12 million passengers a year". The Straits Times. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  7. ^ Nambiar, Predeep (29 May 2020). "Penang airport expansion likely delayed by a year, says CM". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  8. ^ Friday, 13 Dec 2019 07:18 PM MYT. "Jagdeep: Penang Airport expansion works to begin in March next year | Malay Mail". Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  9. ^ Sunday, 05 Apr 2020 04:20 PM MYT. "International flights to Penang halted, says CM | Malay Mail". Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  10. ^ "International Airports". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Guan Eng demands Putrajaya approve Penang International Airport expansion now". 1 December 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Penang International Airport expansion to start soon". The Edge Markets. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  13. ^ Opalyn Mok (12 February 2018). "Expansion project to double Penang airport capacity to 12 million passengers, says council head". Malay Mail.
  14. ^ "China Airlines 中華航空 全新A321neo客機預定21年第四季開始投入服務, 已經接受訂位". Facebook.
  15. ^ "Starlux Airlines: Taiwan's AWESOME New Airline". One Mile at a Time. 7 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Penang International Airport factsheet" (PDF). Malaysia Airports.
  17. ^ "Malaysia Airports: Airports Statistics 2020" (PDF). Malaysia Airports.
  18. ^ "Pulau Pinang nombor 1, hasil pelancongan perubatan 2015 naik 5.55%" (PDF). Buletin Mutiara. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  19. ^ 2020-12-08T11:00:00+00:00. "Penang pursues light rail project". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  20. ^ hermesauto (2 January 2020). "Passengers panic over bush fire near Penang airport". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 June 2020.

External links[edit]