KLIA: Enhancing the travel experience
Posted: 26 May 2009 | Dato' Seri Bashir Ahmad, MD & CEO, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad | No comments yet
World’s Best Airport for three years running and Green Globe Certified for four consecutive years – As KLIA troops into its eleventh year of operations, the challenges we face are different, but so are the rewards. The key to a successful airport business is always evolving with the times and maturing phase by phase. When Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) first opened, we experienced an operational phase. As time went by, we gained momentum and we set our sights on becoming the best in the industry. We improve, we optimise and we never stop evolving.
World’s Best Airport for three years running and Green Globe Certified for four consecutive years – As KLIA troops into its eleventh year of operations, the challenges we face are different, but so are the rewards.
The key to a successful airport business is always evolving with the times and maturing phase by phase. When Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) first opened, we experienced an operational phase. As time went by, we gained momentum and we set our sights on becoming the best in the industry. We improve, we optimise and we never stop evolving.
Ask us at any point in time and we’d tell you that there is always something going on at the airport. Catering to travellers comfort and prioritising business efficiency has always been top of our agenda. This has kept us innovative and brought us to where we are today.
World – Class Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT)
KLIA is among the first airports in the region to have a terminal solely dedicated to the operations of Low Cost Carriers (LCC). Built in just nine months, at a cost of RM108 million, the terminal was tailored and configured to optimise the business models of LCCs.
Commencing operations in March 2006, with the capacity to cater for up to 10 million passengers per year, the LCCT did not take long at all to make a huge impression on the aviation industry. Barely eight months after opening, the terminal received the Best Low Cost Airport Award from the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
Needless to say, the proof of the product is in its customers. Passenger numbers in the terminal grew rapidly. This growth was spurred largely by AirAsia’s increase in international flight frequencies and new long-haul routes.
By 2008, the passenger traffic in LCCT began to reach critical mass and expansion of the terminal became inevitable. In December 2008, a new International Arrival Hall was introduced to passengers. In March 2009, a new International Departure Hall was fully installed. Both these expansions completed, the LCCT now has double the international passenger capacity. LCCT currently services AirAsia, AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, AWAIR, Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific Airlines.
Of course, growth will not stop there. Anticipating 15 million passengers by 2011, a brand new LCCT has been planned and approved by the Malaysian Government. The RM2 billion terminal is expected to be ready by the third quarter of 2011 and will have the capacity to cater for up to 30 million passengers per annum in its first phrase of development. Once completed, this new terminal will be integrated with the airport’s existing Main Terminal, boasting connectivity for both terminals. Putting passenger comfort at the very top of its agenda, this new terminal will also be designed to maximise operational efficiency for LCCs.
The synergy between legacy airlines and LCCs under one roof would consolidate KLIA’s ambition to emerge as a ‘new generation’ regional hub.
In looking for avenues to increase non-aeronautical revenue, KLIA turned its attention to its Satellite Building and a plan to upgrade the shopping experience was drawn up. Months and months of planning and many designs later, the blueprint for the Satellite Retail Optimisation Plan (SROP) was unveiled.
The plan was to create an everlasting impression of KLIA among travellers. A jungle trail would be created within the building itself, allowing travellers to experience and enjoy a lush forest feature. More shopping opportunities were also created, along with plenty of features for passenger comfort and entertainment needs.
In May 2008, KLIA’s Satellite Building underwent this exciting renovation, aimed at transforming the airport’s shopping experience. The project was undertaken on a phase-by-phase basis in order to minimise disruption. The entire project is scheduled for completion by mid-2009.
Malaysia Airports, KLIA’s parent company, is the first airport operator in the South East Asian region to adopt the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) ground breaking ‘Simplifying the Business’ (StB) initiative.
The StB program is comprised of various components such as; Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) ticketing kiosks, Bar-Coded Boarding Passes (BCBP), Baggage Improvement Programme (BIP) for baggage handling improvement and IATA e-freight, a project that aims to eliminate the use of paper documents for air cargo shipments.
The StB programme aims to change the way the industry operates, by providing better services for passengers and lowering costs for the industry.
Prioritising wholesome development
Few, if any airports around the world, can boast an ‘airport in the forest and forest in the airport’ theme the way KLIA can. In conjunction with World Environment Day 2007, this theme took a step up with the launch of Project Green Planet (PGP), a continuous improvement commitment in the green direction.
In developing KLIA, Malaysia Airports also places great concern over the development of its surrounding areas. The envisioned KLIA Airport City, or Aeropolis, is being carefully developed to ensure that all progress made is well-balanced, multifunctional and sustainable. The city is aimed to be both self-sustaining and diversified, boasting employment opportunities for community development and making the area a destination for shopping, trading, exhibitions, businesses, leisure and tourism.
Challenges in this era of economic turbulence may be tricky, but KLIA has steadily continued to evolve. It is due to this commitment to continuous improvement and sensitivity to the industry that we have emerged as one of the foremost airports in the region.