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Old December 20th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #241
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Malacca gets another RM62m to extend airport
Saturday December 20, 2008

MALACCA: The Federal Government has agreed to the state’s request for an additional RM62mil to extend the Batu Berendam Airport runway so it can handle larger planes.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the approval by the Economic Planning Unit would help attract 1.35 million tourists to the state and would generate RM1bil for the local economy.

Extending the runway by another 385m to 2.135km would enable a fully loaded Airbus A-320 or Boeing 737 to land, he told reporters after a closed-door briefing on the ongoing project at Seri Bendahara yesterday.

Mohd Ali added that state chalked up the highest number of health tourist arrivals in the country last year, with over 60,000 seeking treatment here.

The current RM131mil extension project would only result in a 1.8km runway when completed by the end of this month.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #242
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'No room for Sultan Azlan Shah Airport extension'
NST Online » Local News 2008/12/20 By : P. Chandra Sagaran

IPOH: Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has rebutted allegations by Perak Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen that financial constraint was one of the reasons the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport here has yet to be upgraded.

"It is not due to finance or lack of commitment but rather the topography. As responsible politicians they should know the scenario better.

"The airport is surrounded by mountains at one end and adjacent to densely-populated areas," he said after witnessing the swearing-in of Ipoh Timur MCA division office bearers on Thursday.

Also present was Perak MCA chairman Datuk Kong Cho Ha.

"When we talk about extension, then the question of space is raised. Economic returns with the upgrading of the airport can only be achieved with sufficient flights, passengers and cargo volume," Ong said.
He said these problems must be first studied and addressed.

There must also be land available for extension while meeting the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

"It is not just saying we have the land and money but whether the airport has complied with the ICAO requirements which, among others things, would include the length of the runway."

Recently, state Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming had asked the Transport Ministry to honour its promise to develop the under-utilised airport, failing which the task should be handed over to the state.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 09:17 AM   #243
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Extended arrival hall at LCCT opens
Saturday December 20, 2008

PETALING JAYA: The new international arrival hall at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) is now open.

The extended hall adds 32,000 sq m of additional floor space to the existing 28,000 sq m available. When fully operational in March, it will be able to handle 15 million passengers annually.

Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB) senior general manager (operations) Datuk Azmi Murad said in a statement that the expansion would cater to the growing numbers of low-cost travellers and to enhance passenger comfort level.

The new hall is part of the RM160mil new wing constructed under the LCCT expansion plan.

Six baggage carousels have also been added to further expedite baggage handling while there will be 12 Custom counters and 34 Immigra- tion counters.

The first flight to arrive at the new hall was AirAsia’s AK079 from Hong Kong.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 09:30 AM   #244
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RGIA sees blue skies amid global gloom
By Hamisah Hamid Published: 2008/12/17 BusinessTimes

The operator of Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, co-owned by Malaysia Airports, will produce a blueprint by March for expansion to meet increasing demand for passenger and cargo flights

THE Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad, India, co-owned by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), is confident of reaching its annual target of 12 to 15 per cent passenger growth despite the current global economic downturn.

RGIA chief commercial officer A.Viswanath said the airport operator expects two new international airlines to start flying from RGIA per year and existing airlines to increase their flight frequency.

There have been 11 domestic airlines and 13 international airlines operating at the airport within six months of its opening on March 23 this year.

"There will be 15 international airlines by year-end.

"We have improved the standard of services in a short time, compared with most greenfield airports that take longer time to improve," Viswanath said in an interview with Business Times during the 14th World Route Development Forum (Routes 2008) in Kuala Lumpur.

Viswanath said RGIA is trying to get airlines such as Air India, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Cathay Pacific to fly from Hyderabad to California or Los Angeles via any Southeast Asian capitals.

The airlines are expected to start flying within the route in the next one year.

"Our marketing team has done analyses on passenger traffic from Hyderabad to Los Angeles and California as well as future traffic.

"We also met with information technology, pharmaceuticals, software and electronic companies," he said, adding that the team found large traffic flows between Hyderabad and the US cities.

The US$550 million (RM1.95 billion) RGIA is developed by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) - a consortium led by GMR Infrastructure Ltd with 63 per cent stake, Airports Authority of India (13 per cent), the government of Andhra Pradesh (13 per cent) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (11 per cent).

Viswanath said the airport operator will produce a blueprint for expansion to meet increasing demand for passenger and cargo flights.

The blueprint is expected to be ready by March next year.

One of the proposed plans is a separate terminal for Muslim pilgrims, which numbered more than 7,000 during the Haj season.

"On the cargo front, we are creating a perishable unit due to increasing demand," he said.

The volume of international cargo rose 40 per cent in the first six months while growth was flat for domestic cargo.



http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_New...ANDHI/Article/
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Old December 20th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #245
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Subang Airport (Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport)
Terminal 3
by ~ GAB ~

image hosted on flickr
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Old December 20th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #246
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Kota Kinabalu International Airport
by Jan Strode

image hosted on flickr


by The Living Albums

image hosted on flickr
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:07 AM   #247
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New ATRs for Firefly
Monday December 22, 2008



Network expansion: Firefly pilots pose in front of the
airline’s latest addition to its fleet of ATR 72-500 Sunday.


PETALING JAYA: MAS subsidiary Firefly has replaced its Fokker 50s fleet with the French-made ATR 72-500.

It received its fifth ATR at a ceremony at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang yesterday with another five aircraft arriving next year.

Managing director Eddy Leong said the company was proud to finally operate with the new ATRs from Toulouse, France but was equally emotional about bidding farewell to the Fokkers. Firefly started operations in April last year by leasing two Fokkers from MAS and a third Fokker subleased from MASWings.

“The ATR 72-500 is the critical component fuelling Firefly’s aggressive network expansion in 2008 and 2009,” said Leong.

He said the 72-seat aircraft was equipped with a state-of-the-art cabin interior, comfortable seats with ample leg room and reduced cabin noise. He added that the ATR would reduce Firefly’s operating costs by up to 20% on fuel and maintenance.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:08 AM   #248
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Firefly fleet change completed
Published: 2008/12/22

FIREFLY, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), has completed its fleet change with five brand new ATR 72-500 aircraft, replacing the Fokker-50 used previously by the carrier.

Firefly managing director Eddy Leong said the new aircraft would replace three Fokker-50 turboprop aircraft leased from MAS since the launch of Firefly in April last year.

"It is indeed an emotional day for us to bid farewell to our Fokker-50s as they had served us well during the start-up stage," he told reporters at a Farewell to Firefly's Fokker-50s ceremony in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Leong said two of the Fokker-50s had been returned to MAS and MASWings - another subsidiary of MAS - while the third one would be returned to MAS on December 31.

He said Firefly, which received its first ATR 72-500 last August, will be getting five more ATR 72-500 by August next year.

"Compared to the Fokker-50, the 72-seat ATR would give us 44 per cent additional revenue capacity while reducing operating cost by as much as 20 per cent, especially in fuel and maintenance," Leong said. - Bernama
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:10 AM   #249
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Jetstar denies merger plan with AirAsia
Published: 2008/12/24



SINGAPORE: Jetstar Asia Airways Pte Ltd, the Singapore-based budget carrier backed by Qantas Airways Ltd, denied a report saying it was in talks with AirAsia Bhd (5099) on a possible combination.

There is "no discussion on any merger", Jetstar chief executive officer Chong Phit Lian said in an e-mail reply to Bloomberg queries. The two are working on commercial arrangements, such as transferring passengers between each others' flights when delays occur, she added.

AirAsia, Southeast Asia's biggest discount airline, and Jetstar may be in exploratory talks on a possible merger, a Malaysian newspaper reported yesterday, citing people it didn't identify.

Sepang, Malaysia-based AirAsia's chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes didn't answer calls to his mobile phone or reply to an e-mail seeking comment.
AirAsia closed half a sen lower at 92.5 sen in Kuala Lumpur trading, after earlier rising as much as 2.2 per cent. The shares have declined 43 per cent this year. Jetstar is closely held, with Qantas owning the largest stake. - Bloomberg
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:11 AM   #250
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LCCT To Handle 15 Million Passengers Per Annum Once Fully Operational In March 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 (Bernama) -- The new international arrival hall at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) will be able to handle 15 million passengers per annum once it is fully operational in March next year.

In a statement here Friday, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said the hall, which was operational since Dec 15, would allow international passengers to experience a better and more spacious area.

It said the new arrival hall was part of the RM160 million new wing constructed under the LCCT-KLIA expansion plan.

The new wing is expected to be completed in March next year, it said.

MAHB senior general manager, Datuk Azmi Murad, said the expansion was in line with MAHB's objective to continuously improve its services and facilities to provide better airport experience for passengers and airport users.

LCCT-KLIA currently houses AirAsia, Thai AirAsia, AWAIR, AirAsia X, Cebu Pacific Airways and Tiger Airways.

-- BERNAMA
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:12 AM   #251
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MAHB gets govt green light on financial revamp
Published: 2008/12/24

AFTER a five-year wait, the government has approved the financial revamp of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB),(5014) freeing up the airport operator to grow further.

Under the revamp, MAHB will pay RM1.01 billion to the government. This comprises RM508 million cash and the rest would be offset against money it spends to upgrade the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) and aero-train in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The restructuring will also establish the framework to review aeronautical charges such as landing and parking charges. MAHB wants to raise these charges as it deems it to be too low.

The revamp is being done as MAHB owes the government some RM826.7 million in fees for operating the KLIA under a long-term concession.

MAHB managing director Datuk Seri Bashir Ahmad said the approved restructuring plan - based on "revenue-share funded capital expenditure" arrangement - addresses MAHB's current capital expenditure obligations to develop or upgrade existing airports in the country.
Previously, MAHB had to incur additional capital expenditure when it developed airports outside KLIA, although it did not have enough revenue.

"Under the new plan, MAHB will pay to the government an increasing share of revenue generated of the whole of MAHB Group, which the government could use for future airport capital expenditure, if it so chooses.

"In this scenario, capital expenditure undertaken by the government would be funded by this revenue share arrangement, which is over and above the current taxation obligations of MAHB to the government," he said in a statement issued yesterday.

MAHB would announce details of the restructuring after formalising all the agreements.

Bashir said the government's approval will pave way for MAHB's new future direction, which will be unveiled before the end of the first quarter of next year. This will include a five-year business plan.

Airlines operating in Malaysia could expect better incentives from MAHB, whereby the proposed enhanced incentive scheme was held back pending approval of the restructuring plan.

Bashir said the plan also unbundles some of MAHB's non-core activities like the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), which will be sold to the government.

The plan to sell SIC, valued at about RM389 million, was first announced in 2001 but a deal was never done.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:13 AM   #252
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Subang airport to have more Immigration counters, shops
2008/12/23 By : Irdiani Mohd Salleh



The long queue of passengers lining up at the Immigration

SUBANG: Passengers on international flights at Terminal 3, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS) Airport, will have more comfortable surroundings by early next year when the renovations are completed.

The waiting area will have a lounge with an ample number of seats.

There will be six more Immigration counters, in addition to the present two,so that the waiting time for passengers to be cleared will be reduced.

The RM40 million renovation works being undertaken by Subang Skypark, which will manage the terminal, began in the middle of the year.

Presently, Berjaya Air and Firefly are using the terminal for international and domestic flights.
SAAS Airport Immigration Department head Mohamad Stapar said yesterday that with the two existing counters, passengers normally would not have to wait long to be cleared if the flights departed or arrived on schedule.

"But there are times when flights are delayed and we have to cater to passengers of two flights at one time.

"When this happens, one counter will be opened for those who have just arrived and another for those who will depart.

"When this happens, passengers may have to wait for about 30 minutes."

A passenger, Janice Ng, 32, said she did not mind the longer wait because of the renovations.

"It is understandable, but I hope the situation will improve once the renovations are completed."

It was reported that besides these renovations, the tenants at the airport were also spending another RM5 million on refurbishment.

The airport is expected to cater to 2.5 million passengers next year.

There will also be a commercial nexus opposite the terminal, which will house world-class facilities such as a boutique hotel, an aviation-themed park, gourmet restaurants and cafes, food court, and retail and service outlets.

The terminal will be linked to the commercial nexus via an elevated bridge. Elevated car parks with 1,600 parking bays will be available.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:15 AM   #253
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Two airports in the air
Wednesday December 24, 2008
By IZWAN IDRIS

MAHB’s plans upgrading works at LCCT in Sepang

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has received the Government’s nod on its long-delayed financial restructuring plan.

Under the plan, MAHB will pay the Government RM1.01bil, of which RM508mil will be in cash and the rest will be set off against capital expenditure that includes upgrading works at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and aero-train at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

The airport operator said the approved restructuring plan would also pave the way for it to expand operations at KLIA on its own, including building a new passenger terminal as part of its a strategy to make the country’s main gateway “a successful and leading regional hub for both full service and low-cost carriers.’’

The restructuring plan also includes the sale of the Sepang International Circuit, the venue of the Formula 1 Grand Prix race, to the Government.

“With all this in place, we can now focus on our core business – airport operations,’’ MAHB managing director Datuk Seri Bashir Ahmad said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia.

He said the financial restructuring would also establish the framework for the review of aeronautical charges. “We will now be able to soon announce an enhanced incentive scheme for all airlines operating in Malaysia, which we held back pending our restructuring plan,’’ Bashir said.

Bashir described the financial restructuring as an “amicable arrangement” that addressed MAHB’s existing financial obligation to the Government and its social obligations in developing and running airports. It also provides “an acceptable revenue sharing mechanism.”

MAHB operates all airports and airfields in the country except the one in Senai, Johor. It also has operations in Kazakhstan, India and Turkey.

Bashir said prior to the restructuring, MAHB had already improved its profitability and increased its cash pile to more than RM600mil. it had also revamped its management structure and set key performance indicators for senior managers, as well as expanded overseas.

“The Government’s approval will set the stage for MAHB’s new direction and business philosophy going forward, which we hope to unveil before the end of the first quarter of 2009,’’ he said.

MAHB shares closed four sen lower at RM2.19 yesterday, extending this year’s decline to 27.5%. MAHB’s announcement came after trading hours yesterday.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:16 AM   #254
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MB: Airport in Ipoh can be expanded
Monday December 22, 2008

IPOH: There is enough space for the Sultan Azlan Shah airport here to be expanded, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said.

He said proposals from various quarters confirmed the runway could be lengthened to have just enough space for a Boeing 747.

“With that portion, we will extend the runway so that 747s can land,” he told reporters after meeting mosque officials here yesterday.

On Friday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat had said the airport runway could not be extended due to a lack of space, citing the surrounding mountains and densely populated residential areas.

Nizar also said the Pakatan Rakyat state government was looking into the possibility of subsidising 10% to 30% of the airfares for the airlines to fly to Ipoh.

“We are negotiating with local and international airlines,” he added.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:17 AM   #255
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AirAsia prefers a low-cost terminal in Labu
Wednesday December 24, 2008
By LOONG TSE MIN

KUALA LUMPUR: Budget airline AirAsia Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd have confirmed their interest to jointly develop and operate an RM1.6bil private low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Labu, Negri Sembilan.

Approval for the terminal in Labu, to be known as [email protected], was expected “shortly, possibly in a few days,” officials of AirAsia and the developer, Sime Darby, told reporters at a briefing yesterday.

In separate announcements to the stock exchange yesterday, AirAsia and Sime Darby said the two companies have “jointly expressed an interest to the Government of Malaysia to develop and operate a private low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT Project) on the Sime Darby group’s land in Negri Sembilan.”

Both announcements said “the LCCT Project was in the initial planning phase and the companies were engaged in preliminary discussions with state and federal authorities.”

Officials of both companies said that while details had to be ironed out, the project, estimated to cost about RM1.6bil, would be privately funded.

The RM1.6bil was an estimate of the cost of structures and the runway but did not include the 3,000-acre land where it would be built.

“We are very much at the planning stage and the land valuation certainly has not been done yet,” a Sime Darby spokesman said.

Sime Darby, in its filing, said the collaboration was an intergral part of the company’s plan for its Negri Sembilan Vision City (NSVC).

The NSVC is part of Sime Darby’s Central Vision Valley property development project spanning Selangor and Negri Sembilan, a concept which includes seaside resorts, a medical city and a safari park, among others.

It was reported that Sime Darby is expected to take up a majority stake in the joint venture.

“After the construction, we will turn over the whole project including the land to AirAsia who is the client. We are not operating the airport,” the Sime Darby spokesman said.

AirAsia said the Labu LCCT project would address its overcapacity problem when completed in 2011 and that it was preferable to another LCCT project proposed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

The LCCT proposed by MAHB is expected to completed by 2014.

“The completion date for the new permanent LCCT proposed by MAHB is too late to keep up with our passenger growth,” AirAsia said.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 07:18 AM   #256
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AirAsia And Sime Darby Confirm Interest In Developing New LCCT
December 23, 2008 20:21 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 (Bernama) -- AirAsia and Sime Darby Bhd have confirmed their interest in jointly developing and operating a private Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, AirAsia said that both had jointly expressed an interest to the government on this matter.

"The LCCT project is in the initial planning phase. The company and Sime Darby are engaged in preliminary discussions with state and federal authorities," it said today.

Sime Darby, in a separate filing, said the collaboration was an intergral part of the company's plan for its Negeri Sembilan Vision City (NSVC).

The NSVC is part of Sime Darby's Central Vision Valley property development project spanning Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

It was reported that Sime Darby, which will build the airport, is expected to take up a majority stake in the joint venture. AirAsia will operate the airport.

The proposed LCCT has attracted various parties interested in setting up operations there, including Tune Hotel, a bus terminal, retail malls and factories.

Meanwhile, an official from Sime Darby stressed that the company will only be involved in developing the new LCCT terminal and once completed, the company will sell it to AirAsia.

He said the new terminal will be built under a private financing initiative with estimated construction cost of RM1.6 billion.

According to him, the new terminal is expected to be completed by March 2011 with a capacity to handle 30 million passengers per annum.

"The new LCCT terminal at Labu will be a major catalyst for NSVC. It will create more job opportunities and it will be a permanent infrastucture," he added.

Under the proposal, the new LCCT terminal will have integrated transportation link.

An official from AirAsia said the low-cost carrier may face a shortfall in passengers volume while waiting for completion of the new permanent LCCT proposed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

He said the new permanent LCCT proposed by MAHB is expected to completed by 2014.

"Completion date for the new permanent LCCT proposed by MAHB is too late to keep up with our passengers growth," he added.

-- BERNAMA
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Old December 27th, 2008, 01:30 AM   #257
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Melaka govt supports LCCT plan in Labu
Published: 2008/12/25

THE Melaka state government fully supports the plan to build a low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said.

He said the LCCT will indirectly promote tourist arrivals to Melaka as the proposed location was close to the state.

The state government is supporting the plan as it will also bring benefits to the state, he told reporters after officiating the ’Jom Ke Melaka’ campaign in Seremban today.

The LCCT will involve an investment of RM1.6 billion. It is to be developed by AirAsia Sdn Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd and the completion is expected in 2011.

Mohd Ali said by 2010, some 732,000 passengers will not be able to be catered to by the LCCT in Sepang and this figure is expected to go up to four million by 2011.

“Therefore, it is reasonable to speed up the building of a LCCT in Labu to further boost the development of the country’s tourism sector.

Also, the building of the airport will not involve government financing and instead the private sector will be handling it,” he said.

In his speech earlier, Mohd Ali said that as of November, Melaka recorded a total of 5.86 million tourist arrivals, an increase by 11.4 per cent or 596,752 visitors compared with the previous corresponding period. - Bernama
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Old December 27th, 2008, 01:31 AM   #258
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LCCT in Labu part of Sime's Negri vision
By Kang Siew Li
Published: 2008/12/25



THE new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Labu, Negri Sembilan, is crucial to the development of Sime Darby Bhd's (4197) Negri Sembilan Vision City to attract investment and facilitate economic development, says a senior official.

He said the new LCCT, which would cost RM1.6 billion in construction alone, will promote economic activity, particularly in the construction industry, and create jobs.

"It will also bring infrastructure improvements to the surrounding areas, attract more tourists and the development of ancillary facilities such as cargo facilities and hotels," he told reporters at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

The Negri Sembilan Vision City development is the second part of a bigger national development project called Central Vision Valley (CVV), which spans 415,000 acres. The first part is known as the Selangor Vision City.
"Sime Darby is the master planner for the CVV due to the fact that we are the biggest landowner in this area. Of the total 415,000 acres in the CVV, 80,000 acres belong to Sime Darby," the official said.

The group expects to complete the development of the two vision cities by 2025.

"Being a massive development (CVV), we need to attract regional investors. The primary target is the Asean region with a population of 600 million, and the secondary target is the Asian market with a four billion population.

"That's why the LCCT is an integral catalyst to the overall development because we've got to bring in all these visitors from all over the region," he said.

Where the catalyst for the Selangor Vision City is the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, the official said, the new LCCT will be Negri Sembilan Vision City's.

The Negri Sembilan Vision City, covering 13,000 acres, comprises six property components. They are the Nilai high-tech park, the 500-acre Bandar Gemilang - an affordable housing township, a healthcare and wellness city, an educity, a sports city, the KLIA [email protected] and a tourism and entertainment area, which will be anchored by a waterfront resort development.

"Eventually, we hope to have a direct access road from the KL International Airport (KLIA) main terminal building to the KLIA [email protected], a distance that is slightly longer to the existing LCCT.

"We also hope to be able to extend the express rail link (ERL) from KL Sentral to KLIA [email protected] And there is a possibility of creating another KTM Komuter stop at the Sepang Circuit and onwards to KLIA [email protected]," the official said.

"However, all these proposals are still at the conceptual stage," he added.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 07:03 AM   #259
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Old December 30th, 2008, 03:02 PM   #260
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AirAsia sees LCCT at Labu as 'terminal extension'
By Kang Siew Li
Published: 2008/12/30

Allowing Firefly, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, to operate out of Subang is against the aim to make KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang a regional aviation hub, says an AirAsia Bhd (5099) official.

"There is a big confusion about this hub matter. Firstly, why is Firefly operating from Subang if everything is supposed to be at KLIA? That in effect has 'broken' the aim to make KLIA a regional aviation hub," he told reporters at a briefing last week.

The official was responding to concerns that the relocation of the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang to Labu, Negri Sembilan, called KLIA [email protected] may derail that plan.

The government last year granted permission for Firefly to operate from Subang as the airport has been designated for short-haul flights by propeller-powered aircraft. Firefly uses the French ATR 72-500 twin propeller aircraft.

The official also said a hub is one where people can pick up connecting flights on different airlines many times a day.
"Changi Airport in Singapore, for example, is a hub. Why? Because you have all kinds of premium, same-service airlines operating from there. You can fly out with Air France and connect with Singapore Airlines and you have airline alliances such as Star Alliance and One World operating there.

"On the other hand, there are only two European airlines operating out of KLIA namely KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Lufthansa," he said.

He added that most passengers on AirAsia fly point-to-point routes and thus, there is little need for connectivity of flights between airlines operating out of the existing LCCT and that at the KLIA main terminal building.

"As AirAsia X increases its route network, this need to connect (AirAsia passengers with other airlines) will be lesser. The only connectivity I see is that from the Gulf airlines to the LCCT. But generally their passengers would have gone to Kuala Lumpur, stayed a few days there and then come to the LCCT to fly to Langkawi and wherever. They don't go straight to the LCCT.

"As such,'hub' is a misnomer," he said.

Nevertheless, the official said the new LCCT in Labu will provide much better connectivity with the KLIA main terminal building than the existing LCCT. Sime Darby Bhd, the developer of the proposed LCCT, plans to build a direct access road from the KLIA main terminal building to the KLIA [email protected], extend the express rail link from KL Sentral to KLIA [email protected] and add a KTM Komuter stop at the KLIA [email protected]

He also pointed out that having more than one airport in a city would also not have a negative impact on plans to make KLIA a hub.

"London, for example, has five airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and LondonCity. Stansted is a low-cost airport of which AirAsia X is going to fly to. It is about one-and-a-half hours away from Heathrow Airport.

"While Heathrow Airport serves as a hub for full-service carriers, Stansted is a hub for low-cost carriers," he said.

The official also cited Dubai as an exemplary aviation hub, which is constructing a new airport at Jebel Ali, some 40km away from the existing Dubai International Airport and will be linked by a high-speed train.

"In addition, Heathrow Airport has five terminals. The distance between the KLIA main terminal building and KLIA [email protected] is actually closer than Heathrow Airport's terminal five is to its terminal one.

"So Labu was the option presented to us by Sime Darby Bhd. There were about five sites we looked at, including a fantastic one near Rawang. However, we picked Labu because we wanted to be closer to KLIA. We wanted to see it as one airport and KLIA [email protected] is just a terminal extension," he added.

The official also said the number of passenger arrivals at KLIA satellite and main terminal buildings is expected to reach 25 million and 30 million at the LCCT by 2014.

"Combined, we will be able to rival Bangkok's estimated 57 million passengers and Singapore's 50 million (regardless of the new LCCT's location)," he added.
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