Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has announced that Kuala Lumpur International Airport will introduce new measures to make the airport the first “Next Generation Hub.”
Despite its growing success as Southeast Asia third largest international gateway with over 27 million passengers per year, Kuala Lumpur suffers from the disadvantage to have its passengers flow separated by two distinctive air terminal: on one side, the KLIA main terminal welcomes legacy carriers including Malaysia’s flag carrier MAS; 20 km away, on the other side of the runway, the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) welcomes all low cost carriers, most of them being AirAsia operations. It already welcomes over 10 million passengers a year.
With AirAsia offering more and more connections to unserved destinations in Asia and the Pacific, more passengers look also to connect in the most simple and effective manner.
A KL airport’s feasibility study revealed that the existing landside bus transfer service between the two terminals sees at least 500 “self connect” passengers per day (or 1,000 passenger movements), representing an annual market of over 180,000 passengers.
According to Sallauddin Mat Sah, general manager of Malaysia Airports, the challenge is now to enable passengers to connect seamlessly between all types of carrier and between different types of terminals. “Passengers are presented with numerous options from full service carriers, low cost carriers, various routings, various prices and types of services. The best option could be a combination of a full service carrier and a low cost carrier.”
However, selecting the best combination of carriers is not easy for KL airport’s users as there is not one single portal combining all possibilities under one roof.
“Next Generation Hub,” developed by ASM Consultancy company, will be a new effective tool to plan an itinerary that best suits passengers’ needs. A new website –flyklia.net- was launched a week ago and is able to generate an itinerary that integrates all airlines’ schedules and fares.
In the future, it will also help to simplify transfer and connections between KLIA main terminal and the LCCT. Sallauddin added: “The portal is free to use and search results include links to airlines and travel agent websites where travelers can book flights directly. This portal will continue to be extensively enhanced over the coming months with other initiatives added such as an airport loyalty scheme for frequent flyers.”
A number of operational initiatives are also underway; such as the introduction of an enhanced passenger and baggage transfer flow between the main terminal building and low cost carrier terminal. Malaysia Airports is hoping to launch this inter-terminal transfer product in late 2009.
According to Mat Sah, the “Next Generation Hub” initiative at KLIA will translate into a sharp rise in transferring passengers between terminals over the next few years.
Malaysia Airports is also seeking all airlines cooperation to work at improving network coordination and schedule synchronization to facilitate the development of the “Next Generation Hub.”
Meanwhile, a major step will be achieved in 2011 when a new permanent low cost terminal with a total capacity of 30 million passengers will open in the close vicinity of KLIA’s main terminal.