AirAsia begins KLIA2 operations

AirAsia begins KLIA2 operations

SEPANG - It was a relatively smooth day at KLIA2 as its main tenant AirAsia officially began operations there.

The airline has moved its 70 aircraft and 3,550 staff members from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) to the RM4 billion (S$1.55 billion) facility, which received its first occupants and users on May 2.

"The operation so far has been smooth. Though there were teething problems, the situation was manageable and a good experience overall," said AirAsia Bhd CEO Aireen Omar on the low-fare airline's first full day yesterday.

Among the minor drawbacks for AirAsia were flight delays in the early hours.

According to AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani, four out of six flights during that time were delayed due to confusion over aircraft parking bays.

"The delays, however, only averaged 21 minutes. Co-ordinating the use of the parking bays was a challenge.

"If we had a little more time to carry out further trials, we could have reduced this but with some experience, I believe we can handle this issue," said Azran.

AirAsia X welcomed its first flight from Sydney into KLIA2 at about 4am yesterday and saw its first flight out of the new terminal, bound for Guangzhou, at 5.35am.

Meanwhile, passengers were seen to be happy with the new terminal.

Businessman Datuk Lau Ngie Hua, 52, from Sibu, Sarawak, was one satisfied AirAsia customer.

"The first thing I noticed when I came in here were its many shops. My family and I had a good time shopping around after we checked in," he said.

Lau, a frequent flyer to the peninsula, said he was happy with the signage at KLIA2, although he hoped Chinese would be included on it.

Student Siti Nor Ain Zubir, 27, who was flying to Penang yesterday, also found her visit to the new terminal a pleasant experience.

"I like it here because it is less congested, and there are many shops and food outlets to choose from. Besides, the check-in queue wasn't long," she said.

A check by The Star yesterday found that the queues at all counters were manageable.

KLIA2 now houses AirAsia, AirAsia X, Indonesia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and AirAsia Zest - which accounts for 80 per cent of passenger traffic - as well as Malindo Airways, Lion Air, Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific Airways.

LCCT now houses only corporate staff of AirAsia until the company headquarters near KLIA2 is ready next year.

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