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Friday, June 6, 2014

KLIA2 - Malaysia's new generation low cost hub

by Ian Mcintosh - Travel Agent Update - on location in Bangkok

Flying into LCCT, Malaysia's old domestic airport, was the biggest downside of using one of the region's best budget airlines, AirAsia.

Primitive was a kind word for LCCT - millions of passengers each year had to cram into tiny departure areas and then walk it seemed sometimes forever in the heat or rain to get to the aircraft. The final feat was clambering up swaying stairs.

All of that changed dramatically on May 2 when the budget carrier plus Malindo Air, Cebu Pacific, Tiger and Lion Air moved into KLIA2 - a new generation hub which is part of the existing international airport complex. We are talking big here - 80 jet bridges, the capacity to handle 45 million passengers a year, a shopping mall housing 225 retail outlets.

Probably as big as Thailand's gateway airport, Suvarnabhumi, it was supposed to open three years ago but delays and safely issues ended that dream.

Despite all of the glitz and glamour, AirAsia is not happy mainly because the equipment it now has to use including the air bridges and check-in systems has bumped up its costs by about 10 per cent. The extra costs are passed on as a KLIA2 fee of according to the Bangkok Post. We don't want a grand facility a spokesperson for the airline was quoted as saying in Thailand's leading newspaper.

"We want a simple but efficient terminal with safe operations that delivers the costs and convenience which our customers want."

I understand his point, particularly the carrier's frustration at not being able to use the res and check-in system it has developed and perfected over a decade of its existence.

However I think KLIA2 will give AirAsia a new edge. I for one can't wait to explore the world's newest mega airport.
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