Malaysia Airports says AirAsia asked for bigger KLIA2
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said today it boosted passenger capacity at KLIA2 upon AirAsia’s request.
AirAsia boss Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said earlier this week raising the low-cost carrier terminal’s capacity to 45 million passengers per annum (PPA) from 30 million made little sense as that would make it larger than Singapore’s Changi Airport.
He also suggested that this would likely inflate the cost of the terminal further from the current RM3.9 billion, itself an increase from the original RM2 billion estimate in 2009.
But MAHB said on its website today that AirAsia had requested for the PPA to be increased to 45 million.
This was in line with the no-frills airline’s own passenger volume projections for the next 14 years, the airport operator pointed out.
In a post today entitled “Why KLIA2 has to be bigger?”, MAHB said AirAsia had estimated in June this year that the PPA at the new terminal would hit 28.7 million by 2015, 45.3 million by 2020 and 60.3 million by 2025.
This was more aggressive than MAHB’s own projections for the same period, according to a graph included in the post.
The airport operator also said the six-month delay on the project had been caused by a switch to a fully-automated baggage handling system from a semi-automated system.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the change was requested by AirAsia in June this year after the airline realised baggage handling would have to be fully automated to cope with the high number of passengers expected to use KLIA2.
This meant that portions of the already-built terminal building had to be hacked to accommodate the new setup, causing the delay.
KLIA2, which was originally conceived as a terminal for low-cost carriers, grew in scope after MAHB decided to make the terminal a back-up for the main terminal, almost doubling the cost to RM3.9 billion in the process.
The airport operator also decided to bring forward capital expenditure in an attempt to future-proof the terminal — it now boasts a runway capable of handling Airbus A380s and also a higher capacity of 45 million PPA, three times that of the present LCCT.
It also made a popular decision to install aerobridges, a decision which earned the ire of AirAsia which has been against the concept as it would mean longer aircraft turnaround times and additional charges, but MAHB insists any additional cost to passengers will be negligible.
Fernandes, who built his empire by focusing on cost-cutting measures, said he feared that the ballooning price tag of KLIA2 would translate to higher airport taxes and fees in future despite several assurances from MAHB that it would not.
When it opens for business in April 2013 after a 17-month delay, KLIA2 will feature amenities that will rival those of most full featured airports including a huge shopping mall, premium and VIP lounges, hotels and Asia’s first airport skybridge measuring about 300 metres.