Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tougher Competition for KLIA

According to Skytrax, the winner of the World’s Best Airport Award goes to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). This is followed by Changi International Airport and Incheon International Airport. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was the 9th best airport in the world. Since most of these airports are in Asia, we will see a tougher competition after the implementation of the ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASAM). KLIA was divided into 2 terminals, which is the LCCT and the main KLIA terminal. LCCT is a low cost terminal designed specifically for low cost airlines.

According to Bernama Aviation the KLIA2 project, which is to expand the current LCCT, will be completed and commence operations in April 2013. With the estimated cost between RM 3.6 billion to RM 3.9 billion, the new LCCT will be able to cater for 45 million passengers per annum. This will then be an advantage for KLIA to be more competitive with the other World’s Best Airport in Asia. Since the market trend now shows an increase demand for low cost travel, it is essential for KLIA to provide facilities for low cost airlines. KLIA performance can be evaluated in certain aspects such as facilities provided, passenger comfort level, airport layout plan, and some other aspects.

The facilities in KLIA at the moment are equivalent to international standards. KLIA can even cater the Airbus 380, which is the commonly used largest passenger aircraft by airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates nowadays. But even though at the moment KLIA can cater the A380, the number of A380 that KLIA can cater at a time is still a small number. On the 1st of December 2011, Emirates will start to land its A380 in KLIA. This shows more demands for airlines to use KLIA as a destination for their A380. Without proper strategic planning to meet this demand by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), KLIA will surely lose to its competitors. Even though Changi International Airport is currently the 2nd best airport in the world, there are many future possibilities for KLIA to overtake Changi International Airport current position. Singapore is a small nation compared to Malaysia. Meaning future expansion of Changi International Airport are limited. With more facilities to cater for a larger passenger capacity and airlines would surely be an advantage for KLIA.

The passenger comfort level at KLIA is at the proper level. With various facilities provided to assist on passenger’s movement in the airport and waiting areas, it is surely an advantage for KLIA. Passengers can also shop and dine while waiting for their flight. KLIA approach of a jungle within an airport is also very comforting for passengers embarking and disembarking in KLIA. Passengers came to KLIA would want less waiting time to reach popular destinations. Even 1 hour would be a waste to them. This is where KLIA is lacking. A location that is far from popular destinations. For example, Changi International Airport that have several popular destinations near to the airport location. This is one of their advantages.
The airport layout plan should be able to minimize ground time for aircrafts and passenger movement. This is because, longer ground time for aircrafts does not just meant more cost for airlines, but also will effect passengers comfort level. The longer the aircraft on the ground would make passengers and even the pilots stressed out. Since human factors are one of the important aspects in flight safety, it is important for KLIA management, which is MAHB to look into this problem.

In conclusion, MAHB still have many opportunities to improve KLIA performance. With constant development to meet the demand of the industry, KLIA will surely be the best airport in the world.

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