By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
AirAsia Bhd, the world’s leading low-cost airline, said it will continue to support ideas by any party to build a new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT), as long as it aspires the real meaning of a “low-cost terminal”.
Executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (picture) said the company, a strong proponent of LCCT, is ready to work with any individuals, state governments or industry players, including Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to achieve its vision.
“We will support and work with anyone who can build us a low-cost terminal, it all depends on their deal (to convince) the government,” he told the press at the launch of the AirAsia-Alisports Asean World Electronic Sports Games co-sponsorship in Sepang last Friday.
Last Thursday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said plans to develop a new LCCT next to the Kuala Lumpur
International Airport (KLIA) main terminal will need to be re-submitted since the last proposals were not approved by the previous government.
It was reported that Citaglobal Airports Sdn Bhd director Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria had previously submitted plans to build a new LCCT to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
The report also said AirAsia submitted a supporting letter for the proposed plans, and this was confirmed by Kamarudin. The plan for the new terminal aimed to accommodate higher foot traffic.
The 20-year-old KLIA main terminal is already nearing its capacity of 30 million passengers per annum (mppa).
Last year alone, KLIA recorded about 58.6 million passenger foot movements for a combined capacity of 75 mppa.
Last December, MAHB had pointed out that KLIA2 is not a low-cost terminal; the decision to build a second terminal is to specifically accommodate the high foot traffic.
The statement came after the government — through the Malaysia Aviation Commission (Mavcom) — decided to increase the passenger service charge (PSC) at KLIA2 for international destinations, from RM50 to a standard rate of RM73 this year.
Mavcom had said the move will facilitate fairer competition between airlines opera- ting at the two terminals.
Kamaruddin, however, refuted by saying that there are huge differences between the two terminals.
In 2008, AirAsia and Sime Darby Bhd had plans to construct a RM2 billion low-cost airport in Labu, Negri Sembilan, which was expected to accommodate about 25 mppa prior to Citaglobal Airports’ proposal for the building of the new LCCT.
The private finance initiative, however, was turned down after several interventions by the International Air Transport Association.
Kamarudin said AirAsia has no plans to re-propose the idea for now.
“AirAsia has moved four airports since it began operations. “It is not easy and we have sort of given up on the idea of owning our own airport,” he added.
AirAsia moved its operations to KLIA2 from the LCCT in Sepang in 2004 after being there for eight years.
On the new proposal for an LCCT, Kamarudin said the company expects the proposed new LCCT terminal to be equipped with 90 aircraft parking bays and could accommodate around 50 million passengers a year.
“We are open for any proposal, from any parties,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Kamarudin said in light of the scope of work and the cost of maintaining the commission, the ministry should study the relevance of Mavcom and that it should not micromanage the airlines.
“The cost borne by the consumer must be justifiable.”