Penang International Airport

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Penang International Airport
Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Pulau Pinang
Penang Airport MRD.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Malaysia
Operator Malaysia Airports
Serves Greater Penang
Location Bayan Lepas, Penang, West Malaysia
Hub for
Time zone MST (UTC+08:00)
Elevation AMSL 11 ft / 3 m
Coordinates 05°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
Map of Penang Airport with Batu Maung and Bayan Lepas FIZ
Map of Penang Airport with Batu Maung and Bayan Lepas FIZ
PEN/WMKP is located in Peninsular Malaysia
PEN/WMKP is located in George Town, Penang
Direction Length Surface
m ft
04/22 3,352 10,997 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passenger 6,684,026 (Increase 6.8%)
Airfreight (tonnes) 130,491 (Increase 0.1%)
Aircraft movements 66,247 (Decrease 0.6%)

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

Penang International Airport is a medium-sized airport with frequent connections to major cities in Asia such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Hong Kong and Taipei, and serves as the main airport for northern 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.


The airport terminal building in 2011, prior to its most recent renovation. Note its distinctive Minangkabau roof.

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 targetting 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]

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).


Panoramic aerial view of Penang International Airport and the Second Penang Bridge in January 2017


Passenger terminal building after renovation in 2012

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.[8] Its two runways are about 3.35 km in total length.

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

Passenger check-in counters

The airport has been a source of contention between the Penang state government and the Malaysian federal government. In recent years, calls by the Penang state government to expand the airport largely went unheeded by the Malaysian federal government, even though the airport is reaching its maximum capacity of 6.5 million passengers.[9]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
AirAsia Ho Chi Minh City, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuching, Langkawi, Medan, Singapore
Cathay Dragon Hong Kong
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou
Firefly Banda Aceh, Kota Bharu, Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Langkawi, Phuket
Indonesia AirAsia Medan, Surabaya
Indonesia AirAsia X Denpasar/Bali, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Surabaya[10][11]
Jetstar Asia Airways Singapore
Lion Air Medan
Lucky Air Kunming
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Seasonal: Jeddah, Kota Kinabalu,[12] Kuching,[12] Medina
Malindo Air Haikou,[13] Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Melaka, Sanya, Singapore, Wuhan
Scoot Singapore
SilkAir Singapore
Sriwijaya Air Medan
Thai AirAsia Bangkok–Don Mueang
Thai Airways
(operated by Thai Smile)


Airlines Destinations
Air Hong Kong Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City
Cathay Pacific Cargo Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh,[14] Singapore
China Airlines Cargo Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Taipei–Taoyuan
EVA Air Cargo Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei–Taoyuan[15]
FedEx Express Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur-International, Taipei-Taoyuan
Korean Air Cargo Jakarta–Soekarno Hatta, Manila, Seoul–Incheon
MASkargo Kuala Lumpur–International, Shanghai–Pudong, Tokyo–Narita
UPS Airlines Kuala Lumpur-International, Shenzhen[16]

Operational statistics[edit]

A Firefly ATR72-500 departing Penang International Airport
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747-400 arriving at Penang International Airport

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]

Notably, the Malaysian low-cost carrier, 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.[17]

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 parked at Penang International Airport
A China Airlines Airbus A340-300 taxiing at Penang International Airport
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
Source: Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad[18]
Busiest international flights out of Penang International Airport by frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (Weekly) Airlines Note
1 Singapore Singapore, Singapore 90 3K, AK, MI, TR, OD
2 Indonesia Medan, Indonesia 49 AK, JT, SJ, QZ
3 Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia 14 XT
4 Thailand Bangkok, Thailand (DMK) 14 FD
5 Hong Kong Hong Kong, China 11 KA
6 Thailand Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) 10 WE
7 China Guangzhou, China 7 CZ
8 Taiwan Taipei, Taiwan 5 CI additional 1 weekly from 27 Nov. 2017[19]
9 Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 4 AK
10 Indonesia Banda Aceh, Indonesia 4 FY
11 Thailand Phuket, Thailand 4 FY
12 China Shanghai, China 4 MH begins 17 Aug. 2017
13 Indonesia Surabaya, Indonesia 3 QZ
14 China Shenzhen, China 3 MH begins 17 Aug. 2017
15 China Wuhan, China 3 OD
16 China Haikou, China 2 OD
17 China Sanya, China 2 OD
18 China Kunming, China 2 8L
Busiest domestic routes out of Penang International Airport by frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (Weekly) Airlines
1 Selangor Subang, Selangor (SZB) 170 FY, OD
2 Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur (KLIA) 157 AK, MH, OD
3 Kedah Langkawi, Kedah 35 AK, FY
4 Johor Johor Bahru, Johor 25 AK
5 Kelantan Kota Bharu, Kelantan 25 FY
6 Sabah Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 15 AK
7 Sarawak Kuching, Sarawak 15 AK
8 Malacca Melaka, Melaka 7 OD
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[20]

Ground transportation[edit]

Penang International Airport is accessible from various parts of Penang Island by public buses. Rapid Penang has provided five bus routes to and from Penang International Airport, making it convenient for tourists and locals alike to venture out of the airport.[21][22][23][24]

Service Route Destinations Also Accessible from
Rapid Penang 102 Snake Temple, Bayan Baru, Sungai Nibong, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Gelugor, George Town (Komtar), Pulau Tikus, Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi, Teluk Bahang -
306 Bayan Baru, Queensbay Mall, Bukit Jambul, Relau, Paya Terubong, Farlim, George Town (Penang General Hospital) -
401 Snake Temple, Sungai Nibong, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Gelugor, Jelutong, George Town (Komtar, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Little India, Weld Quay) Balik Pulau, Teluk Kumbar, Bayan Lepas
401E Snake Temple, Bayan Baru, Bukit Jambul, Queensbay Mall, George Town (Komtar, Weld Quay)
AT Bayan Baru, Sungai Nibong, Gelugor, George Town (Komtar, Chulia Street, Weld Quay) -


  1. ^ WMKP – PENANG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT at Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia
  2. ^ a b "Malaysia Airports". Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "AirAsia to turn Penang into fourth hub in Malaysia". The Star. 8 July 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Handy Penang airport information from Skyscanner.". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  5. ^ Barber, Andrew (2010). Penang at War : A History of Penang During and Between the First and Second World Wars. AB&A. 
  6. ^ "News analysis: Electronics drones and satcoms search for MH370". 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Aviation Security | Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia". Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  8. ^ "International Airports". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  9. ^ "Guan Eng demands Putrajaya approve Penang International Airport expansion now". 1 December 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "MAS to fly to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching from Penang starting Nov 18". The Malay Mail Online. Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ 2016, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Cathay Pacific Cargo Adds Phnom Penh Service from late-Nov 2014". Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "EVA Air Cargo Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "AirAsia to turn Penang into fourth hub in Malaysia". The Star. 8 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "MAHB Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Malaysia Airports. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2016. 
  19. ^ 2017, UBM (UK) Ltd. "China Airlines W17 operation changes as of 19JUL17". Routesonline. Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  20. ^ "Pulau Pinang nombor 1, hasil pelancongan perubatan 2015 naik 5.55%" (PDF). Buletin Mutiara. 1 June 2017. 
  21. ^ "Route 102". Rapid Penang. Rapid Penang. 
  22. ^ "Route 306". Rapid Penang. Rapid Penang. 
  23. ^ "Route 401". Rapid Penang. Rapid Penang. 
  24. ^ "Rapid Penang AT Route". Rapid Penang. 

External links[edit]