GEORGE TOWN: The construction of Kulim International Airport (KXP) is not complementary to Penang International Airport (PIA) and it is in fact a competitor to get companies to use its cargo service in the Northern Corridor, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pix).
Chow said the construction of KXP will cause Penang to lose investors moving to Kulim and maybe even to other countries and reduce foreign direct investment (FDI) to the state.
“The state government has studied the reports prepared by two consultants namely KPMG Corporate Advisory on behalf of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and KLIA Consultancy on behalf of the Kedah state government as a feasibility study on the construction of KXP.
“Based on both reports, the construction of KXP will give negative effects to PIA especially to the state of Penang in general,” he was replying to a question and answer session at the State Legislative Assembly here today.
He was replying to an oral question by A. Kumaresen (PH-Batu Uban) who wanted to know the the impact of KXP in Kulim to the economy of Penang in the long term.
Commenting further, Chow who is Padang Kota assemblyman said the construction of the airport will reduce the usage of the existing cargo infrastructure facilities at PIA.
He said the state government is in the process of appointing a consultant to conduct a feasibility study on a Northern Corridor International Airport and the process in formulating the Terms of Reference for the purpose of the study.
“The appointment is expected to be carried out in the last quarter of 2019. The proposed comprehensive study is to ensure the right decision is made,” he said.
According to him, the study will look at the suitable options for the Northern Corridor Airport.
He said there are four options which can be studied namely to expand PIA to its optimum capacity, to build a new airport in Penang, a Kulim+Penang airport synergy and to focus only on KXP.
“For the third option, which a synergy of Kulim+Penang airports also has impact on Penang. The synergy will cause passenger and cargo traffic to be divided by two and I am very worried about the fourth option. When Kulim airport is ready and begins operation, PIA will be closed as there is no need for Penang airport anymore.
Meanwhile, in reply to a supplementary question by Nor Hafizah Othman (BN-Permatang Berangan) who wanted to know the measures of the state government to ensure there will be no loss of investors if KXP is specified as a cargo airport, Chow said there is no airport serving only for cargo.
“We will wait for the Kedah state government’s study on KXP to assure us that Kulim will not affect Penang,” he said. — Bernama