Air travellers walking around the main Terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport certainly appreciate the airy atmosphere of the terminal, rarely crowded since low cost airlines – and particularly AirAsia- moved to its own facilities almost a decade ago. With its vast spaces conceived for 25 million passengers, KLIA 1 accommodated easily last year 23 million passengers. It might be even less this year as Malaysia Airlines Berhad- the terminal main user- dramatically reduced its capacities.
It then certainly came to a surprise for Malaysia Airports Authority MAHB to learn from newspapers that Deputy Transport Minister Abd Aziz Kaprawi is talking about expansion and even construction of a third tTo reporters during Malindo Air maiden flight from Kuala Lumpur to Perth, the Deputy Minister indicated that both Terminals at KLIA were reaching their full capacity -25 million at KLIA main terminal and 45 million at KLIA2. The Deputy Minister added to expect MAHB to submit a proposal for the airport’s third terminal in the next two to three years after detailed studies. KLIA was originally conceived to accommodate up to 80 million passengers a year.
The idea was firmly but politely rejected by MAHB, as reported by Malaysia New Straits Times. “The current main terminal of KLIA is capable of handling maximum of 35 million passengers a year. We are currently handling between 23 to 25 million,” declared over the week end its managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali. “It has always been in the masterplan of KLIA to expand as when and is needed. However, we will continue to study the possibility of this,” he declared to reporters.
Meanwhile, Abd Aziz Kaprawi should have looked more carefully at data. In 2014, from a total passengers output of 48.93 million passengers at KLIA, some 24.7 million were registered on low cost carriers flying out of KLIA2. The new LCC air terminal is then far of having reached its saturation point.
Malaysia economic crisis and Malaysia Airlines downsizing translate into a marked slowdown in passengers’ growth. From January to September 2015, total passengers traffic at KLIA is up by only 0.6- the growth coming mostly from Low Cost Carriers. Passengers’ movements at KLIA 2 jumped by 8.9% during the first seven months of 2015… No need to worry over KLIA reaching saturation for now…