Anthony Loke denies Guan Eng’s Penang LCCT claim

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GEORGE TOWN, Sep 6 – Transport Minister Anthony Loke has poured cold water on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claim one month ago that Penang will be getting a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to complement the operations of the Penang International Airport (PIA).

According to Bernama, on Aug 6, Lim announced that Penang is set to get a LCCT with the PIA having surpassed its maximum capacity last year.

However, at a press conference on the island today, Loke said his ministry had yet to give any approval for the setting up of a LCCT in Bayan Lepas.

“There is no final decision on the LCCT but my ministry is studying proposals on the need for a separate terminal for budget airlines,” he was quoted as saying, adding that any talk of LCCT was just a “rumour”.

Loke added the only option that his ministry was looking into now was on upgrading PIA to accommodate the massive increase in capacity in recent years, which has now exceeded what the airport was designed to handle.

AirAsia in talks to build Penang LCCT?

Last month, Lim, who is the former chief minister in the DAP-led Penang government, said construction of the LCCT could proceed as neither the state nor federal governments would have to pay for it, with AirAsia covering the cost under a public-private partnership.

He had also said talks were ongoing between the airline and Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) on the proposed project.

However, Loke dismissed this claim.

“There is also no approval to AirAsia to work on the Penang LCCT. All these are rumours in the media. The media is free to speculate.

“Whether a separate terminal is to be built or the existing terminal upgraded, no decision has been made. We will decide on this later,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.

It was previously reported that the PIA had exceeded its maximum designed capacity of 6.5 million passengers per year. It currently handles about 7.1 million passengers.

-NMT