Penang International Airport

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Penang International Airport

Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Pulau Pinang
Penang airport view.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment of Malaysia
OperatorMalaysia Airports
ServesGreater Penang, diversion alternate domestic/regional airport for entire Perlis and other parts of Kedah (except Kuala Muda, Bandar Baharu and Kulim) such as Kubang Pasu, Kota Star, Padang Terap, Langkawi, Baling, Pokok Sena, Sik, Pendang and Yan districts
LocationBayan Lepas, 111900 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Hub 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 3,352 10,997 Asphalt
Statistics (2018)
Passenger7,790,423 (Increase 7.7%)
Airfreight (tonnes)145,649 (Increase 8.5%)
Aircraft movements75,552 (Increase 7.0%)

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 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, Medan, Hong Kong 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.


Penang International Airport at night

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]

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]


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 two runways are 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 Chengdu,[14] Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Johor Bahru,[15] Kota Bharu (begins 8 December 2020),[16] Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuching, Langkawi, Medan, Melaka, Sibu (begins 8 December 2020),[16] Singapore
Batik Air Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta[17]
Berjaya Air Charter: Kuala Lumpur-Subang
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan
Citilink Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta,[18] Surabaya[19]
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou
Firefly Banda Aceh, Kota Bharu, Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Kuantan, Langkawi, Phuket
Indonesia AirAsia Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Medan, Surabaya
Jetstar Asia Airways Singapore
Lion Air Medan
Lucky Air Kunming
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Seasonal: Jeddah, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Medina
Malindo Air Banda Aceh, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Melaka
Seasonal: Hat Yai
Qatar Airways Doha
Qingdao Airlines Quanzhou[20]
Scoot Singapore
Shenzhen Airlines Shenzhen[21]
SilkAir Singapore
Sriwijaya Air Medan
Starlux Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan[22]
Thai AirAsia Bangkok–Don Mueang
Thai Smile Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi


Cathay Pacific CargoJakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh,[23] Singapore
China Airlines CargoHanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Singapore, Taipei–Taoyuan
DHL Aviation
operated by Air Hong Kong
Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong
EVA Air CargoBangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Taipei–Taoyuan[24]
FedEx ExpressBangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur–International, Taipei–Taoyuan, Singapore
Korean Air CargoJakarta–Soekarno Hatta, Manila, Seoul–Incheon
MASkargoKuala Lumpur–International, Shanghai–Pudong, Tokyo–Narita
UPS Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International, Shenzhen[25]

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.[26]

ATR 72-500 of Firefly air company standing at Penang international airport

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 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
Source: Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad[27]
Busiest international flights out of Penang International Airport by frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (weekly) Airlines Note
1 Singapore Singapore, Singapore 97 3K, AK, MI, TR, OD, EK
2 Indonesia Medan, Indonesia 57 AK, JT, SJ, QZ
3 Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia 21 XT, QG
4 Thailand Bangkok–Don Mueang, Thailand (DMK) 14 FD
5 Thailand Phuket, Thailand 7 FY
6 China Guangzhou, China 14 CZ
7 Taiwan Taipei, Taiwan 14 CI, JX
8 Hong Kong Hong Kong, China 11 KA
9 Thailand Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Thailand (BKK) 10 WE
10 Indonesia Banda Aceh, Indonesia 7 FY, OD
11 Qatar Doha, Qatar 5 QR
12 Vietnam Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam 4 AK
13 Thailand Hat Yai, Thailand 4 OD
14 China Shenzhen, China 4 ZH
15 China Shanghai, China 4 HO
16 Indonesia Surabaya, Indonesia 3 QZ
17 China Haikou, China 2 HU
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 Johor Johor Bharu, Johor 45 AK
4 Kedah Langkawi, Kedah 39 AK, FY, QR
5 Sabah Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 14 AK
6 Sarawak Kuching, Sarawak 14 AK
7 Kelantan Kota Bharu, Kelantan 14 FY
8 Malacca Melaka, Melaka 14 OD, 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[28]

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.[29][30][31][32]


  • 1 Jan 2020: A bush fire near the airport put authorities on alert, but flights were not delayed by the incident.[33]


  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. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b Liu, Jim. "AirAsia 4Q20 Malaysia domestic network additions". Routesonline. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Batik Air schedules Penang service from late-May 2019". Routesonline.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Special Offer Surabaya Penang". Citilink. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  20. ^ Liu, Jim. "Qingdao Airlines plans new international routes in 4Q19". Routesonline. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Starlux Airlines: Taiwan's AWESOME New Airline". One Mile at a Time. 7 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Cathay Pacific Cargo Adds Phnom Penh Service from late-Nov 2014". Routes Online. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  24. ^ "EVA Air Cargo Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved 18 November 2016.[dead link]
  25. ^ "World Routes 2017 - Register to Attend". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Penang International Airport factsheet" (PDF). Malaysia Airports.
  27. ^ "Malaysia Airports: Airports Statistics 2018" (PDF). malaysiaairports. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  28. ^ "Pulau Pinang nombor 1, hasil pelancongan perubatan 2015 naik 5.55%" (PDF). Buletin Mutiara. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  29. ^ "Route 102". Rapid Penang. Rapid Penang. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  30. ^ "Route 306". Rapid Penang. Rapid Penang. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  31. ^ "Route 401". Rapid Penang. Rapid Penang. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Rapid Penang AT Route". Rapid Penang. Archived from the original on 20 March 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  33. ^ hermesauto (2 January 2020). "Passengers panic over bush fire near Penang airport". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 June 2020.

External links[edit]