I refer to the letter Is there really a need for another LCCT?
Being a frequent flyer with AirAsia, I'm sure the government's decision to allow the private construction of a new LCCT at Labu was given very in-depth consideration before approval was granted by the cabinet.
All aspects of convenience and connectivity for passengers were obviously utmost on the government's mind, as was the need to accommodate AirAsia's tremendous growth.
The writer mentioned the potential of bad connectivity (travellers having to take a bus or ERL from one terminal to another) once the new LCCT is up and running. What's the difference now? I don't recall walking to the KLIA main terminal to get a connecting flight. I still need to get a bus, taxi or ERL to get there.
So, what's the fuss all about? I understand that a link road will be built between the main terminal and the new LCCT, while the KTM Komuter service will be extended to the new terminal. Also the distance from KL city centre to Labu is only about 50 km compared to 78 km to KLIA.
Besides, given AirAsia's impressive frequency of flights and connectivity of routes, I suspect most of its passengers will be flying the budget airline all the way anyway, rather than switching from AirAsia to a full-service carrier at KLIA's main terminal.
I read in a local daily that the present LCCT was only meant as a temporary terminal, and never meant for long-term use. It is constantly overcrowded and the facilities are poor. Even plans to expand it to accommodate 15 million passengers a year would not help AirAsia much, given that the airline expects to carry 30 million passengers a year by 2013.
As a frequent user of AirAsia and seeing how full its planes are, I can personally attest to how fast the airline is growing. It's ridiculous that there are people trying to blame AirAsia for wanting a terminal that fits its needs – and the needs of its growing number of passengers. Many people blame AirAsia for the conditions at the LCCT, presumably unaware that the airport is operated not by AirAsia but by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.
I don't think MAHB is helping much to ease the problem. To build a new LCCT by 2014? I believe that will be too late. The Malaysian economy needs all the help it can get at this time. AirAsia contributes enormously to our tourism industry and anything that enables the airline to continue helping our country should be praised, not criticised.
As for the argument that AirAsia use the KLIA Main Terminal, come on. AirAsia operates on a low cost carrier (LCC) model and a lavish airport terminal like KLIA would not be suitable for its operations. The extra features and fittings at the KLIA main terminal would mean extra costs for the LCC and defeat AirAsia's whole purpose and its business model.
The writer mentioned about an 'All-In-One' model with regards to the charges to be imposed on full-service carriers and LCCs, which is achievable with a good business plan. Looking at the KLIA main terminal and the LCCT, one could get a clear indication of which has the so-called 'good business plan'. The writer’s recommendation looks good on paper but would not fare too well in its implementation in the real world. .
AirAsia obviously did not come easily to its decision to want to relocate to a new LCCT that it can operate much more efficiently and at much lower costs. Perhaps there is some shortchanging somewhere, hence the airline decided to go away.
Lastly, let's keep in mind a very important fact: The new LCCT at Labu will be built and operated completely with private funds. Not a single sen in government subsidies has been sought, and none granted. Isn't this an example of a genuine win-win situation for all – the government, the private sector and, most important, Malaysian consumers?