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19 July 2016

PENANG –  The unusual bad weather and heavy rain on Monday, 18 July 2016, has flooded and aggravated several low-lying areas in Penang Island such as Bayan Lepas, Batu Maung, Relau, Teluk Bahang including the Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas.

The Meteorological Department had recorded the highest rainfall for the area of Bayan Lepas of 80 mm at the hourly reading at 4pm yesterday, which is four times the normal rainfall for Bayan Lepas that typically receives between 10 to 20 mm hourly rainfall intensity.

The heavy rain combined with high sea tide had caused backflow of the drain and flooded the arrival hall of Penang International Airport.

Malaysia Airports had in February 2015 completed the installation of the On-Site Detention tank together with its collection sump and catch pits to manage the flash-flood at the outer lanes of the kerbside - lane two and three. This had mitigated the situation effectively during the heavy rain yesterday where the outer lanes of the kerbside were not affected. Cars and public transports were able to drive through the kerbside to pick up passengers and traffic flow at the kerbside were well managed by the airport. Without the OSD tank, the outer lanes could have been flooded as well and the situation could have been worse for the airport.

Malaysia Airports has been engaging with the city council and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage to find a long term solution to the flooding that is affecting Bayan Lepas and subsequently the Penang International Airport. Amongst the action plans is to review the drainage and irrigation system surrounding the airport area.

Currently the drainage from the surrounding area of the airport converge into the monsoon drain located within the airport premise which aggravates the situation for the airport. Notwithstanding, and based on the success of the On-site Detention (OSD) tank implementation, Malaysia Airports is also looking at installing another OSD tank to further mitigate the heavy water flow within the airport area.

Nevertheless the flooding at Bayan Lepas had caused a massive traffic jam and this had affected the access to the airport causing a shortage of taxis service. For safety precaution due to water seepage into the lift and escalator pits underground, the airport had to temporarily shut down the lift and escalator services. Meanwhile the bad weather had also resulted in some flight delays affecting 10 arrivals and 2 departures by AirAsia, Firefly, Malindo and Malaysia Airlines. 

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