Located 16 kilometres to the south of Penang Island’s capital George Town, the Penang International Airport is a major hub for the low-cost Malaysian Airlines, AirAsia and Firefly. It stands as the oldest airport in the country but has undergone modern renovations and additions to serve the growing tourism industry of the island.
The Penang International Airport operates from a single terminal building, with the capacity to handle up to six million passengers a year. There are 11 gates and eight aerobridges in its departures area, together with numerous eateries, duty-free shops, boutiques and airline lounges. AirAsia, Firefly and Malaysia Airlines all operate flights to Kuala Lumpur and seasonal domestic destinations, while direct flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Guangzhou, Taipei, Jakarta, Seoul, Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City are among its major international Asian destinations. It is the third busiest airport in the country in terms of passenger traffic and the second busiest when it comes to cargo operations.
The Penang International Airport is well connected to George Town by public bus routes, and ticket counters can be found in the arrivals hall. Taxis are also available outside the terminal building and work on a pre-paid voucher system based on seven different transit zones across Penang Island.
The airport opened as the Bayan Lepas International Airport in 1935 at a time when Penang was part of the British-run Straits Settlements. During World War II it was one of the first places to be hit by the Imperial Japanese Army during their 1941 air raids. It was renamed the Penang International Airport in 1979 following extensive expansion works, with the runway extended and its distinct Minangkabau-style terminal built.