AirAsia Branding of KLIA2 as a Low Cost Airline Terminal Does Not Please Malaysia Airports

It is all a question of words but it seems to have touched a nerve of Malaysia Airports Bhd. In a statement, AirAsia, which accounts for 97% of passenger traffic at KLIA2, plans to launch a campaign to promote the budget terminal as the “Low-Cost Carrier Terminal 2” (LCCT2).

The low-cost carrier said in a statement that this would reinforce Kuala Lumpur’s position as the leading low-cost gateway to Asia and beyond. In the statement, Tony Fernandes, the Group CEO, highlighted that: “As we grow towards becoming the Dubai of Asia, we want the world to know that the best value fares are here in Malaysia. To me, KLIA2 doesn’t mean anything. LCCT2, on the other hand, is synonymous with low-cost. It is a brand that we built up together with MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd) and it shouldn’t go to waste. I urge MAHB to stop denying the fact that it is a low-cost hub.”

AirAsia currently operates over 220 flights daily to and from Kuala Lumpur. Guests can connect to over 100 destinations in 24 countries via Kuala Lumpur using AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service. The airline transports on average 37,000 passengers daily and has now over 1.3 million travellers using Fly-Thru connecting services.

The answer from MAHB, the airport’s operator, came in the form of a statement on Monday. KLIA2 is not a low-cost carrier terminal but part of the KL International Airport (KLIA) hub, said Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

“KLIA2 is neither an independent airport nor a hub. It is KL International Airport’s (KLIA) second terminal and is a crucial component of the KLIA hub. Although KLIA2 is currently mainly used by low-cost carriers, it is designed to cater to all types of airlines as it supports the overall KLIA capacity,” MAHB stressed in its statement.

The airport company said that was working to position KLIA as an integrated hub (KUL Hub) under its five-year business plan – Runway to Success 2020. The aim is to provide seamless connectivity to all airlines, whether full-service, hybrid or low cost.

“By virtue of this, it is crucial to view and position both KLIA Main and KLIA2 together as KUL Hub or an integrated airport system, instead of taking KLIA2 as an independent low-cost hub,” explained the statement. To name KLIA 2 differently would only add to passengers’ confusion.