Penang International Airport

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Penang International Airport

Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Pulau Pinang
Penang airport view.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerKhazanah Nasional
OperatorMalaysia Airports
ServesState of Penang, Kedah, Perlis and northern Perak
LocationBayan Lepas, Barat Daya, 11900 Penang, Malaysia
Opened1935; 88 years ago (1935)
Hub for Firefly
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 Penang
Location in Penang
PEN /WMKP is located in Peninsular Malaysia
Location in West Malaysia
PEN /WMKP is located in Southeast Asia
Location in 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 an airport in northern 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]

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]


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]

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]

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.[5][6][7]

On 5 April 2020, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that all international flights into Penang had ceased, although domestic flights continued.[8]


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

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.[9] In 2017, the federal authorities finally announced plans to expand the airport to accommodate 12 million passengers per year by 2029.[10][11] The airport expansion was stalled from 2020-2022 due to issues with land acquisition and funding however the Malaysian Transport Ministry has reaffirmed its expansion plans.[12]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


AirAsia Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuching, Langkawi, Medan, Singapore
Batik Air Banda Aceh,[13] Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta[13]
Batik Air Malaysia Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Melaka
Cathay PacificHong Kong
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou[14]
Citilink Medan
Firefly Banda Aceh, Johor Bahru,[15] Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu,[15] Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Kuching,[15] Langkawi, Medan,[16] Phuket, Singapore [17]
Indonesia AirAsia Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Medan, Surabaya
Jetstar Asia Singapore
Lion Air Medan
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
MYAirline Kuala Lumpur–International[18]
Scoot Singapore
Singapore Airlines Singapore
Starlux Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan[19]
Thai AirAsia Bangkok–Don Mueang[20]
Thai Smile Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi


Cathay Cargo Hong Kong
China Airlines Cargo Taipei–Taoyuan
DHL Aviation
operated by Air Hong Kong
Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong
EVA Air Cargo Taipei–Taoyuan
FedEx Express Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Taipei–Taoyuan
Korean Air Cargo Seoul–Incheon
MASkargo Kuala Lumpur–International
My Jet Xpress Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International, Singapore
Qatar Airways Phuket[21]
UPS Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International

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.[22]

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 Wikidata query.
Annual passenger numbers and aircraft statistics
Year Passengers
% 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[23]
Busiest international flights out of Penang International Airport by frequency[24]
Rank Destinations Frequency (weekly) Airlines Note
1 Singapore Singapore, Singapore 68 3K, TR, SQ, AK
2 Indonesia Medan, Indonesia 53 JT, QG, QZ, AK, FY
3 Thailand Bangkok Don Mueang, Thailand 14 FD
4 Taiwan Taipei, Taiwan 13 JX, CI
5 Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia 10 AK, ID, QZ
6 Thailand Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Thailand 7 WE
7 Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 5 AK
8 Indonesia Banda Aceh, Indonesia 5 FY, ID
9 Thailand Phuket, Thailand 4 FY, QR
10 Hong Kong Hong Kong, China 3 CX
11 Indonesia Surabaya, Indonesia 3 QZ
12 Indonesia Denpasar, Indonesia 2 AK
Busiest domestic routes out of Penang International Airport by frequency[24]
Rank Destinations Frequency (weekly) Airlines Note
1 Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur 111 AK, MH, OD, Z9
2 Selangor Subang, Selangor 83 FY, OD
3 Johor Johor Bahru, Johor 53 AK, FY
4 Kedah Langkawi, Kedah 32 AK, FY
5 Sabah Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 28 FY
6 Sarawak Kuching, Sarawak 28 AK, FY
7 Kelantan Kota Bharu, Kelantan 7 FY
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[25]

Ground transportation[edit]

Rapid Penang has provided four bus routes to and from Penang International Airport, connecting the airport with various parts of Penang Island.[citation needed]

The Rapid Penang routes that pass through the Penang International Airport include:[citation needed]

  • 102: Penang International Airport-Penang National Park-Penang International Airport[citation needed]
  • 306: Penang International Airport-Penang General Hospital-Penang International Airport[citation needed]
  • 401: Teluk Kumbar-Pengkalan Weld-Teluk Kumbar[citation needed]
  • 401E: Balik Pulau-Pengkalan Weld-Balik Pulau[citation needed]

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.[26]


  • 28 March 1981: Garuda Indonesia Flight 206 refueled at Penang International Airport. During 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 heroin into Australia. 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, which 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.[27]


  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. ^ "Penang airport gears up for $261m upgrade to handle 12 million passengers a year". The Straits Times. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  6. ^ Nambiar, Predeep (29 May 2020). "Penang airport expansion likely delayed by a year, says CM". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Sunday, 05 Apr 2020 04:20 PM MYT. "International flights to Penang halted, says CM | Malay Mail". Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Guan Eng demands Putrajaya approve Penang International Airport expansion now". 1 December 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Penang International Airport expansion to start soon". The Edge Markets. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  11. ^ Opalyn Mok (12 February 2018). "Expansion project to double Penang airport capacity to 12 million passengers, says council head". Malay Mail.
  12. ^ BERNAMA (11 July 2022). "Govt will continue with Penang Airport expansion project - Wee". BERNAMA. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Batik Air Adds Banda Aceh – Penang Service From Dec 2022". AeroRoutes. 28 November 2022.
  14. ^ "China Southern Feb/Mar 2023 SE Asia Service Resumptions". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  15. ^ a b c "Firefly reinstates jet ops from Penang with direct flights to Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu". The Edge Markets.
  16. ^ "Firefly = Penang-Kualanamu daily flight on Firefly's 737".
  17. ^ t"Firefly to launch flights from Penang to Changi Airport on March 26". The Straits Times. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  18. ^ "MyAirline Promo", MyAirline, 2022, retrieved 5 December 2022
  19. ^ "Starlux Airlines: Taiwan's AWESOME New Airline". One Mile at a Time. 7 October 2019.
  20. ^ Töre, Özgür. "AirAsia Resumes Flights from Malaysia to Thailand". ftnNews. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Qatar Airways Cargo Resumes Penang Passenger Freighter Service". Aviation Source. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  22. ^ "Penang International Airport factsheet" (PDF). Malaysia Airports.
  23. ^ "Malaysia Airports: Airports Statistics 2020" (PDF). Malaysia Airports.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ a b Flightradar24. "Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map". Flightradar24. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  25. ^ "Pulau Pinang nombor 1, hasil pelancongan perubatan 2015 naik 5.55%" (PDF). Buletin Mutiara. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  26. ^ 2020-12-08T11:00:00+00:00. "Penang pursues light rail project". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  27. ^ hermesauto (2 January 2020). "Passengers panic over bush fire near Penang airport". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 June 2020.

External links[edit]