The world’s biggest passenger air terminal for low-cost carriers has opened for operations at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after a delay of one year.
Built at a cost of $1.25bn, KLIA 2 has a huge 275,000m2 of floor space with a 4,000m-long runway and is designed to handle up to 45 million passengers a year. There are 128 check-in desks and 15 carousels for luggage claim.
It is equipped with a state-of-the-art flight information system, 80 aerobridges and eight remote stands. Some airlines initially objected to aerobridges, for which they pay a usage fee, but Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, the public-listed operator, went ahead with the installation on safety grounds. Passengers are supposed to be barred from walking across the tarmac to and from the aircraft at all airports.
Currently nine airlines are operating from the new terminal, including five within the Air Asia group. Three more low-cost carriers are expected to join them later this year.
KLIA 2 was built to replace the previous low-cost carrier terminal, which was bursting at its seams with a passenger handling capacity of only 15 million a year. Passengers had to walk as far as 400 metres to board the aircraft depending on where it was parked, as no aerobridges were installed.
Airlines operating at this terminal had also refused to provide coaches to transport passengers to and from the aircraft even during Malaysia’s frequent thunderstorms. The Ministry of Transport and Department of Civil Aviation failed to act.
KLIA now has a passenger handling capacity of 70 million in total, with three runways.