Is there really a need for another LCCT?

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The recently approved proposal of building a new LCCT airport at Labu (KLIA East @ Labu) raises a lot of questions among the rakyat of Malaysia.

No doubt we do really need a bigger LCCT to accommodate the increasing demands of budget travellers in the region as well as globally. However, the strategy of having a separate terminal away from the existing KLIA terminal may not be a good move.

The primary reason that almost everyone knows is that it will defeat the vision of developing the existing KLIA as a regional hub to compete with other airports in the region.

The following are a few points that I would like to share:

1 Inconvenience for travellers in terms of flight connectivity. Having travellers take a shuttle bus or the ERL from one terminal to another is definitely not preferred, especially for disabled persons.

2 The current KLIA main terminal is still under-utilised. It is currently capable of handling a maximum of 40 million passenger per year (the airport’s Phase 2 development plan is to gear the airport to handle 40 million passengers per year by 2008 with the expansion of the low-cost carrier terminal).

Last year, the airport handled 26,938,970 passengers. Under the original master plan, for phase 3, the airport will expanded to handle 75 million passengers per annum with the construction of a new satellite terminal and new low cost carrier terminal that will be capable of handling 30 million passengers alone.

For Phase 4, the airport will be capable of handling 130 million passengers per annum by 2020.

We should explore the possibility of using the existing empty land reserved for the next satellite terminal for the LCCs.

3 Re-assess the need to have different charges for full-service carriers and LCCs. Why do we have to follow the trend of others if we can set our own? We can have an ‘All-In One’ model if we can have a good business plan.

If we can centralise everything in one main terminal with efficiency in mind, I don’t think we need to have different charges for full-service airlines and LCCs.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad can definitely offer a lower rate to everyone when we have the volume and more airlines choose to land at KLIA. MAHB can even look at categorising the charges based on the services provided to both full-service carriers and LCCs.

4 Analyse the return-of-investment (ROI) for having a separate new airport terminal vs expanding the existing one. Which one has a better ROI?

I sure hope the government and related business units will seriously re-assess the KLIA East @ Labu proposal with diligent and proper planning.

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