Arowona Abdulazeez, in Johor Bahru
Plans have been concluded by the Malaysian government to build a third airport at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in five years as the existing main terminal and klia2 are nearing their capacity.
It was learnt that KLIA and klia2 have a combined capacity of 75 million passengers and handled 59 million passengers last year, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said.
Sources told ROYAL NEWS that “The government is currently considering the development of a KLIA3 at the borders of Runway 3 and 4 but before that, we have committed to some investments involving baggage handling systems, which could increase passenger capacity of about 5,000 passengers without the need to build a new terminal.”
“We have earmarked 60 per cent of the KLIA land for the airport use and expansion,” he told the media after the Axis REIT Managers Bhd-Senior UPECA groundbreaking ceremony at the Subang Aerotech Park yesterday.
Badlisham said the fourth runway is currently in MAHB’s masterplan for KLIA, which is now operating on three runways.
He added that the company will be able to operate 110 aircraft movements an hour, with the upgrade based on the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia standards.
MAHB has seen growing passenger traffic at KLIA, klia2 and more than 30 other airports it manages nationwide.
On Monday, MAHB reported passenger traffic movement growth of 4.7 per cent to 7.69 million last month at all 39 airports managed by it, the highest volume recorded for February.
Including its Istanbul operations in Turkey, the group handled 7.1 per cent more passengers to 10.07 million from 9.4 million in February 2017.
KLIA recorded 58.5 million passengers last year, up 11.2 per cent over 2016.
KLIA Main Terminal handled 10.7 per cent more passengers at 28.2 million compared with 2016, while klia2 handled 30.3 million passengers, a growth of 11.6 per cent over 2016.
MIDF Research aviation analyst Muhammad Danial Abdul Razak said the demand for air travel would remain sanguine. This will be underpinned by stable job market in major economies such as China, the US and Europe.
“Looking further into the consumer confidence index, China has breached 120 points, a level not seen for 24 years,” he told NST Business.
Danial is bullish about MAHB, saying that among the upswing factors would be the company’s capacity expansion and entries of foreign airlines, catering to long-term structural demand of air travel.
“(MAHB’s) catalysts for growth would include the aggressive expansionary strategy by the likes of low cost carriers as we believe the increase in capacity to bode well with the improving consumer confidence across the globe.
”Given these positives, we see the stars are aligned for an upbeat demand for air travel due to improving economic fundamentals along with better consumer spending power. This favourable atmosphere augur well with our optimism on the industry as Chinese tourists represent a notable percentage of international passengers at airports managed by MAHB,” he added.
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