Environmental Impact Assessment for Airport Construction

Modified: 26th Jul 2018
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This report is about the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the evaluation and consideration of building a new airport for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to replace the existing Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport Kuala Lumpur. The proposed new Kuala Lumpur International Airport is in Sepang, Selangor. This report is prepared by consultant group from Syaszee & Co. appointed by the government for carrying out studies on the EIA for new airport projects in Malaysia. The report is following the Malaysian Government EIA guidelines and methodologies as described in the Environmental Assessment Requirements and Environmental Review Procedures of the Asian Development Bank (1993) and Environmental Guidelines for Selected Infrastructure Projects (1990). The preparation of this report consist of various discussion with the stakeholders, academicians, local government, policy maker and private consultants to give opinion and overview regarding the impact and viability of this new airport project. In order to proceed with the studies, various methods are being used to gather the information as follows:

(i) review of available literature,

(ii) meetings with National and local government officials,

(iii) site visits to the new airport and surrounding areas,

(iv) discussions with inhabitants near the site,

(v) ambient noise and air quality and surface water quality sampling and testing in the field and in the laboratory, and

(vi) application of professional knowledge and experience.

The requirement of conducting the Environmental Impact Assessments in any project by the countries has been reflected in the:

(i) Principle 17 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

(ii) Article 5 of the Legal Principle for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development

(iii) Principle of Environmental Impact Assessment developed under the UNEP.

Besides that, an EIA generally includes the following aspects which are:

  • Project definition
  • Screening of the project and scoping of the assessment
  • Stakeholder identification
  • Identification and gathering of social and environmental baseline data
  • Impact identification and analysis
  • Development of mitigation and / or management measures and actions
  • Public Disclosure

(a) Project Definition

Project definition is detailed description about the proposed project. It describes the existing airport facilities and its operation along with the proposed construction of new facilities and the plans for operation following the construction of the new facilities that are needed for the convenient of the users. The proposed facilities must meet the standard of the international airport requirement and can accommodate more aircraft at the airport.

(b) Screening

The project was reviewed against applicable legal requirements and government policy imposed to the development of new airport in Kuala Lumpur. The results are finally used to identify the impacts and any further assessments that need to take into consideration before proceed with the project.

(c) Stakeholder Identification

The appropriate organizations and individuals should been interviewed to identify environmental impacts. They were requested to identify any issues or concerns with the project, identify appropriate standards and identify further parties for consultation. For example, representatives from various department and agencies such as Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture, Ministry of Works and Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water and Town Planning Department and Airport Authority.

(d) Identification and Gathering of Social and Environmental Baseline Data

Baseline data was gathered to describe the existing physical, biological and socio-economic conditions. The following technical studies were conducted to collect additional baseline data:

  • Baseline Assessment – establish baseline conditions and compliance with requirements
  • Site Assessment – establish nature and extent of contamination within the Project area
  • Flora and Fauna Assessment – identify any risks within the Project area and collect information to support the development of a wildlife and habitat management plan to reduce the risk of wildlife and aircraft interaction
  • Hazardous Building Materials Assessment – identify risks of hazardous building materials in the existing buildings
  • Stormwater Considerations / Alternatives – identify opportunities to improve existing drainage and accommodate additional drainage loads from the Expansion Project

(e) Impact Identification and Analysis

All potential risks and impacts will be documented and analysed. All phases of the project including design, construction, operations, and decommissioning will be considered. The following table is extracted from Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency as a guidance material on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to determine if an impact or risk is adverse or significant.

Table 1. Factors in Determining Adverse Environmental Effects

Changes in the Environment
Effects on People Resulting from
Environmental Changes

Negative effects on the health including plants, animals, and fish.

Negative effects on human health, well-being or quality of life

Threat to rare or endangered species

Increase in unemployment or shrinkage in the economy.

Reductions in species diversity or disruption of food webs

Reduction of the quality or quantity of recreational opportunities or amenities

Loss of or damage to habitats, including habitat fragmentation.

Detrimental change in the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by aboriginal persons.

Discharges or release of persistent and/or toxic chemicals, microbiological agents, nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus), radiation, or thermal energy (e.g., cooling wastewater)

Negative effects on historical, archaeological, paleontological, or architectural resources

Population declines, particularly in top visual amenities (e.g., views)

Decreased aesthetic appeal or changes in predator, large, or long-lived species

Loss of or damage to commercial species

Loss of biodiversity

The removal of resource materials (e.g., or resources; peat, coal) from the environment

Foreclosure of future resource use or production

Transformation of natural landscapes

Obstruction of migration or passage of wildlife

Negative effects on the quality and/or quantity of the biophysical environment (e.g., surface water, groundwater, soil, land, and air)

(f) Development of Mitigation and / or Management Measures and Actions

The development of new airport basically already outline in the long term National Plan. The plans outlines things need to be consider including the environmental effects and impacts to the society. Besides that, the airport project is already assigned to the respective Ministry to appoint contractors responsible for building this mega project. All the plan outlines and progress report should be handled to the respective Ministry which is Ministry of Works and Ministry of Transport. Besides that, the contractor will be required to develop and implement an environmental management plan (EMP) in accordance with contract documents to ensure the mitigation outlined in this EIA is performed. An independent environmental consultant will be retained to perform regular site monitoring to ensure compliance with the contractor’s EMP and this EIA. Reports should be submitted to the monitoring committee set by the Government every month throughout the construction period.

(g) Public Disclosure

Once the project is completed, a public meeting will be held and advertised in local newspapers. Questions raised and the responses are welcome while the project os being evaluated by the authority or government.


The Malaysian EIA procedures are comparable to the National Environmental Policy Act 1969 (NEPA) model in the United States. The Environmental Quality (Prescribed Activities) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Order 1987 was gazetted as a project planning tool for new projects or the expansion of existing ones. Section 34A of the Environmental Quality (Amendment) Act 1985 requires anyone who intends to undertake a prescribed activity to first conduct a study to assess the likely environmental impacts that will occur from that activity and the mitigating measures that need to be undertaken. The Environmental Quality (Prescribed Activities) (EIA) Order 1987 specifies some 19 categories of activities requiring EIA reports prior to implementation. The EIA procedure is shown in Figure 1. The project initiator will prescribed the activities that will be carried out during the construction of new Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Once it is completed, the report will be assessing by the respective department before send to the Department of Environment (DOE) for further reviewing. If the DOE still need further information regarding the project, they will called for further assessment before proceed to the panels. After reviewing the report, if the panel satisfied with the report, they will request for detailed report which consists all the details about the airport project before the report is send to the approving authority. Once the Authority is satisfied and the government also satisfied, therefore the project will be initiated by the respective contractors.

2.1 EIA Procedures

In July 1987, Malaysia’s Department of Environment (DOE) published the first edition of the Handbook of Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines (hereafter EIA Guidelines). The EIA Guidelines state that:

The aim of environmental impact assessment in Malaysia is to assess the overall impact on the environment of development projects proposed by the public and private sectors. To achieve this overall aim, the EIA Guidelines list the following five objectives of environmental impact assessment:

  • To examine and select the best from the project options available;
  • To identify and incorporate into the project plan appropriate abatement and mitigating measures;
  • To predict residual environmental impacts;
  • To determine the significance of the residual environmental impacts predicted; and
  • To identify the environmental costs and benefits of the project to the community.


Malaysia is one of the famous destinations to visits around the world. With the rapid economic growth and expansion of good facilities and also infrastructure has attracted many visitors and investors came to Malaysia. According to the Immigration Department of Malaysia, from January to November 2009 it is recorded that 25,575,774 foreigners had came to Malaysia. From January to June 2010 it is recorded that 11,868,103 visitors compared to the same period in 2009 which recorded only 11,346,444 people. As the number of visitors shows an increasing trend every year, therefore it is the right time for Malaysia to build new airport which can accommodate more air craft all over the world in order to equip with the demand and number of visitors came to Malaysia. As the project initiator, this paper will give appropriate guidelines that need to take into account before airport project can be taken off. All aspects and opinions from the government and publics are needed before the new airport can be built. Therefore, this report will discuss about the background, security measures and environmental impacts for the development of the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The purpose of this Environmental Impact Assessment Report as an evaluation and consideration of Malaysian government for the development of New Kuala Lumpur International Airport to replace the existing Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport Kuala Lumpur. Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport Kuala Lumpur is located in Subang Jaya which is 17.2 km from the Kuala Lumpur City. The airport started the operation on August 30, 1965. It had the longest runway with 3.7 km long, 45m wide and runway 15 – 33 in the Southeast Asia. The airport basically had three terminals which are Terminal 1 for international flights, Terminal 2 for Singapore – KL shuttle flights by Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, and Terminal 3 for domestic flights. By the end of 1997, Subang Airport handled 15.8 million passengers.

KLIA is proposed to develop in the area which is situated in Sepang, in the south area of state of Selangor. The proposed site spanning almost 100 km2 and it is built on a piece of agricultural land owned by the Government.

The building of the new airport is already highlighted in 10th Malaysia Plan. The cost of building of the new airport is about RM8.5 billion or US$3.5 billion. It is expected that the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) can handle 35 million passengers and 1.2 tonnes of cargo a year and this figure is expected to increase in the future. Besides that, the wide area can accommodate and handle more international aircraft. The new airport or Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang is strategically located to serves the need of people from the Klang Valley, Shah Alam, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Perak. Besides that, the development of Multimedia Super Corridor with the new township area such as Cyberjaya and Putrajaya as the Government’s Office Centre will encourage more passengers using the facilities in the KLIA in Sepang. In order to improve the quality of services to attract more people using the KLIA, high speed train will be used for transporting passengers from KL Sentral to KLIA in more easier and convenient way. It is hopes with the proper plan and implementation of the development of new airport will encourage more people used the facilities in the new airport.

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Local and foreign expertise will be responsible for the development of new airport for Kuala Lumpur. The master plan of Kuala Lumpur International Airport involves constructing five runways and two terminals accompanied by two satellite terminals. Phase One of the development includes construction of one main terminal accompanied by one satellite terminal to accommodate 25 million passengers and dual full service runways. Under the implementation of Phase One, sixty contact piers, twenty remote parking bays with eighty aircraft parking positions, four maintenance hangars and fire stations will be built. Implementation of phase two and three will be expansions of the airport to include increasing number of passengers. As all three phases is completed, it is expected that the airport can handle 100 million passengers per annum.


According to the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Guidelines produce by International Finance Corporation from World Bank group, all projects that need to develop are required to follow these guidelines according to the policies and standards set by the organization. For the purpose of develop an airport project, the following environmental measures should taken into consideration.

(i) Noise and vibrations

(ii) Storm water and waste water

(iii) Hazardous materials management

(iv) Solid waste

(v) Air emissions

(vi) Energy and water consumption

4.1 Noise and vibrations

Noise can be significant during the construction and development of the airport project. A widely used standard for measuring the noise is for LA10, the A-weighted level in decibels that is exceeded for 10% of the time. The noise measures standard usually relate to the impact on human being. Therefore, the most significant sources of noise and vibrations from airport operations are aircraft during the landing and takeoff (LTO) cycles. The noise also can come from ground operations equipment including aircraft taxiing, operation of ground support vehicles for example passenger buses, mobile lounges, fuel trucks, aircraft tugs, aircraft and baggage tractors, aircraft auxiliary power units (APUs) and aircraft engine testing activities in airports with aircraft maintenance activities. Other indirect sources of noise include ground vehicle traffic from access roads leading to the airport.

In order to control the noise, preventive measure should be taken into consideration which is hardly depends on land-use planning and flight management activities. Recommended noise management practices that can be carried out are as follows:

(i) Strategic location for airport development which is far away from the communities and residential and also business premises. Therefore, it will minimize the disturbance of the surrounding area.

(ii) For aircraft landing and take off (LTO), the implementation of preferred procedures and routes is essential to minimize noise especially in noise-sensitive area. These procedures may include instructions on the use of descent profiles or “noise preferential” routes (NPRs), such as the “continuous descent approach” to avoid noise-sensitive areas, the use of “Low Power / Low Drag” (LPLD) procedure to fly the aircraft in a ‘clean’ condition such as no flap or wheels deployed as long as possible to minimize airframe noise, and instructions on minimizing reverse thrust on landing. An alternative approach may include the dispersion of noise through equal use of multiple flight tracks as opposed to a preferential flight track.

(iii) Restrictions of the nighttime and operation of aircraft activities should be controlled.

(iv) Reducing noise in flight operations and activities or use the sound barriers and deflectors to eliminate and reduce noise.

4.2 Air Emissions

Another source of pollution that is expected from the development of new airport is from the air. This pollution include combustion exhaust from aircraft during landing and takeoff and ground operation, from ground service vehicles, vapors from fuel storage and handling and emissions from local ground transportation activities servicing the airport. Other sources of emissions may include fuel combustion during fire training activities, combustion emissions from on-site electricity and heat generation systems and emissions from solid waste incineration activities.

Therefore, in order to reduce the air emission pollution from the aircraft, various steps can be taken as follows:

(i) Optimizing and improving the ground service infrastructure to reduce aircraft and ground vehicle movements

(ii) Try to minimizing fugitive air emissions from jet kerosene and other fuel storage and handling activities.

(iii) In fire-fighting drills, select the cleaner fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas to be used and choose firefighting drill locations and atmospheric conditions that best avoid short-term impacts to the air quality of nearby populated areas.

(iv) The use of the incinerators can help reduce pollution. In controlling air emission pollution, incineration of wastes activities can be continued.

4.3 Stormwater and Wastewater

Other preventive measures in reducing the pollution, effluents from rhe airport also need to be control. The effluents from airport operations basically consist of stormwater runoff from paved surfaces and sanitary wastewater from public and employee services and from airplanes. This situation happened can be associated with leaks and spills of oil, diesel, and jet fuels during operation and maintenance of ground service vehicles, and fuel storage and handling aircraft activities.

Therefore, the proposed strategies to control the impacts associated with stormwater and wastewater are as follows:

(i) Improve the drainage in strategic location that are potentially facing with the leaks and spills of chemicals and fuels problem such as fuel and chemical storage, transport and dispensing facilities, fire training areas, airplane maintenance hangars, and ground service vehicle maintenance facilities by using an oil / water separator to discharge from the surface.

(ii) The managing of collection of sanitary sewage for aircraft and airport should be carried out efficiently in order to control the wastewater effluents.

(iii) Monitoring of effluents is essential in order to avoid aircraft accidents.

4.4 Hazardous Materials Management

The operations of any airport in the world will be facing with dangerous items or easily contaminated. These includes the storage and handling of fuels such as jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline primarily associated with aircraft fueling activities as well as with ground support vehicles. Fuels may be stored in aboveground or underground storage tanks and conveyed to dispensing locations via aboveground or underground piping systems that may be subject to accidental releases during transfer or leaks due to tank and piping containment failure. Hazardous materials which are dangerous to human health and environment should be managed efficiently in order to prevent accidental releases, fire, or explosions. Training in handling with the hazardous waste should be carried out more frequent as the preparation if something happened. The knowledge about the chemicals handling is a must for the operators.

4.5 Waste Management

Basically, an International Airport will receive different types of aircraft landed in the airport. All these aircraft will produce waste that need to be handled by the airport operators. For instance, passengers in the commercial airports may produce solid, nonhazardous, waste food from food establishments, packaging materials from retail facilities, and paper, newspaper, and a variety of disposable food containers from offices and common passenger areas. Food waste from international flights is considered a potentially infectious material by some national jurisdictions. Some airlines may also dispose of pillows following the completion of every flight. Airport operations may also generate liquid or solid hazardous wastes such as used lubricating oils and solvents from aircraft and ground service vehicle maintenance.

Recommended waste management strategies include:

Encourage a recycling program or use biodegradable materials that will be dispose easily especially food container, plastic bags and so forth. Besides that the food waste can be use as agricultural fertilizer and animal feed.

Airline crew members and cleaning operators can segregate all the waste by separating the collection through recycle program according to the characteristics such as papers, plastic and metallic container. Used pillows also can be recycled.

The cleanliness and hygiene of food preparation is a must to avoid diseases. Food catering waste should be managed according to the rules and regulation set by the health organization in order to protect human being.

4.6 Energy and Water Consumption

The operation of the airport may need significant levels of energy for running the machines, ventilation, space cooling and heating in terminals, lighting and the operation of luggage conveyance systems. Water consumption may depend on the types of passenger and airplane maintenance services offered and may include the operation of sanitary facilities for large numbers of transiting passengers or cleaning activities in general. Recommended strategies and methods for energy and water conservation are presented in the General EHS Guidelines.


Finally, before the construction of new Kuala Lumpur International Airport started, we also have to look at the cost benefit analysis.

First, is to identify and take into consideration of all geographical impacts of the project without limitation of the surrounding areas. We have to consider the impact to the local community, other local community within the same state and finally other states in the country as describe in the figure below.

(i) Internal Rates of Return

It is expected by the development of new airport will give economic return to the country. By encouraging more investors and tourists throughout the world come to Malaysia, it is belief it will increase the demand for local industries especially in hotel and resorts, restaurants and so forth as the new interesting place to visit. A large postion of investment is required to develop this airport. Therefore, the margin rate of return also should be high.

(ii) Economic Benefits

The new airport also will give economic benefit to the country. According to economic analyst, the major benefits will be (i) incremental net visitor expenditures, (ii) time savings of passengers, and (iii) the value of foregone passenger and cargo traffic. Besides that, the cost savings in domestic aircraft operation and time landed in the airport will also included in the analysis.

(iii) Project Costs

The allocation of the project cost will be approved by the government. This cost should include (i) civil works, (ii) construction, (iii) equipment and its installation, and (iv) consulting engineering design and supervision. Besides that, the abatement cost also should take into consideration in order to reduce the pollution which will harm the community and human beings.

(iv) Monitoring and Reporting Costs

During the construction period, the monitoring process should be required in order to make sure that the construction of the airport is according to the schedule and the quality of the building is according to the world standard. Therefore, it will incur some cost that should be borne by the contractor. The minor cost of the equipment required for monitoring environmental impacts is also included in the project cost.

(v) Nonquantified Environmental Impacts

The construction of the new airport also will produce the non quantified environmental impacts from airport development and increased other development off-site, including noise pollution, air pollution, and surface water pollution, were considered marginal, and additional economic assessment. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, the abatement cost also should be included in the project cost.


As a conclusion, the development of new Kuala Lumpur International Airport is one of the mega projects that government should initiated. Supports from all are needed in order to make sure that the project implementation is successful. However, various aspects especially in the environmental impacts need to be considered before the projects can be proceed. With the development of new airport in Kuala Lumpur it is expected that it will give more benefits to the country in respect of diplomatic relationship, economic improvement and rapid growth in all aspects of economy.


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