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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     30 November  2011

Malaysia’s new low-cost terminal to cost $1 B plus

SEPANG, Nov 29

The new low-cost terminal (LCCT), KLIA2, with world class facilities to handle about 45 million passengers yearly, is expected to cost between RM3.6 billion and RM3.9 billion and will begin operations in April 2013.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director/chief executive officer, Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, said aerobridges would be installed to cater to the needs of all passengers including the disabled, pregnant women and children.

"We hope the airlines operating here will support our decision by using the aerobridges, as the cost works out to only 25 cent per passenger and the public has indicated they are willing to pay for the use of aerobridges.

"It will be up to the airlines whether or not to use the aerobridges," he told reporters after a tour of the construction site of the KLIA2 complex here Tuesday.

Bashir said work on the 257,000-sq metre KLIA2, which began in October 2009, was now 42 per cent complete and would have 68 gates, more than sufficient to cater to passengers as required by industry standards.

He said a new third runway was being built to cater to aircraft like the A380, the world's largest passenger airplane.

KLIA2 was only 1.5km away from the current main terminal building of KLIA, and a new flyover was being built to link the main road from KLIA to KLIA2, which means KLIA2 would be nearer than LCCT, he said.

On whether there were cost overruns and delay in the operation of the airport, he said, more time was needed to build what was surely to be the world's largest purpose-built terminal for low-cost carriers with superior facilities.

"KLIA2 is being built at the lowest cost per passenger with aerobridges and enhanced passenger convenience, including a fully-automated baggage system," he said.

It will have 6,000 covered multi-storey parking, four hotels, transit hotels, a skybridge and a larger commercial space for retail outlets, he said.

The current Express Rail Link (ERL), which runs from KL Sentral to the main terminal at KLIA, will be extended by 2.2km, to link up with KLIA2.

He said MAHB has given AirAsia, the main user of the KLIA2, a special dispensation to build its headquarters with an apron access as well as Tune Hotel.

Bashir said passenger service charges would not be increased but MAHB has the option to discuss them with the government every five years and the next round of discussions could only be held in 2014.

He denied suggestions that public funds were used to construct KLIA2, saying that MAHB had raised funds for this project from the market which included RM3.1 billion, of which RM600 million was still undrawn.

Bashir said MAHB was exploring the possibility of raising capital from the market whereby it has an option to do a private placement of up to 10 per cent without seeking shareholders' nod at the annual general meeting.

On reports saying he might be removed, Bashir said: "How do you want me to respond to the question?"

He also said that in all its dealings with the government, shareholders, stakeholders as well as airlines including AirAsia, MAHB has always been open, transparent and professional.

On complaints by AirAsia chief, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, that the low-cost carrier was in the dark on the progress of KLIA2, Bashir said, MAHB conducted weekly meetings with all its airline partners where everything was discussed and that there was no reason for them not to know what was going on.

Bashir said that MAHB was in talks with Qantas on the possibility of it resuming operations from KLIA.

He said MAHB conducted open tenders to award projects for the KLIA2

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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