ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Malaysia's starts new air terminal
Bashir Ahmad, head of Malaysian Airports Holdings which runs most of the nation's airports, said the date was later than an earlier target of end-2011 because of delays in building the runway on marshy palm oil plantations.
He said that although the cost of construction was put at 2.5 billion ringgit, "it could be more than that so we will see."
Bashir said the new terminal would be the biggest dedicated low-cost terminal in Asia with floor space of 237,132 square metres to handle 30 million passengers annually.
It is located less than two kilometres from the main Kuala Lumpur International Airport terminal, much closer than the current budget terminal which is a 10-minute drive away.
The biggest tenant by far is AirAsia, the Malaysia-based pioneer in regional budget travel which fought a long battle with airport authorities over the design and facilities of the new terminal.
AirAsia's spectacular expansion since it was founded in 2001 has seen it outgrow its current terminal, a basic warehouse-like facility which at times has been overwhelmed with passengers.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said at the ceremony low-cost travel at Kuala Lumpur's airports has grown 37 percent annually over the past decade.
"The double-digit growth is expected to continue for the next five to 10 years despite intense competition from other large airports in the region," he said.
AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes welcomed the start of work on the new terminal and said the carrier would have to accept the delay in completion.
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