Heavy rain causes overflowing at Penang International Airport

GEORGETOWN - An unexpectedly high volume of rainfall is said to be the cause behind water overflowing into several areas of the Penang International Airport on Sunday, said airport senior manager Mohd Ariff Jaafar.

He said 52.5mm of rainfall was recorded on that day, which was three times the normal volume.

The areas affected at the airport were the arrival hall and the apron area where the Firefly planes are normally stationed.

"The rainwater started overflowing after heavy rain between 7pm and 8pm.

"It was cleared within an hour," said Ariff, adding that the airport operations were unaffected.

"I was told by the state Meteorological Department that the usual rainfall volume is between 10mm and 15mm.

"The high amount of rainfall on Sunday was unprecedented.

"Even the villages situated around the airport, which have never experienced any flooding before, were flooded," he said yesterday.

Ariff reiterated that the airport's drainage system was working.

However, he said water outflow was slow, because of flooding at the airport's surrounding area.

He said the airport's drain gutter capacity was originally created to cater to the water flow according to the state's past rainfall records.

State Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng urged Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to review the airport's drainage system.

"We think that there must be some negligence in the design and capacity of the drain gutter," he added.

Lim said that normal procedures would require architects and engineers to make extra allowances for drainage capacity under the safety sector.

When renovations were being carried out at the airport in 2011, a heavy downpour resulted in leakage at the airport and a part of the ceiling collapsed in 2012.