KL International Airport to expand?

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is said to be in the preliminary stages of planning for another satellite building at the KL International Airport (KLIA).

This comes on the tail-end of KLIA2's development.

The new satellite building will have more than 30 gates to cater for 25 million passengers. Initial estimates say it will cost nearly RM2bil (S$777 million).

There will be a rail link from the main terminal building, similar to the existing satellite building at KLIA.

"Although it is early days, they need to plan as the traffic numbers at the existing satellite building are growing fast. Before it gets totally congested, work on the new satellite building has to start.

"As soon as KLIA2 opens by May 2, MAHB will focus on the building,'' said a source.

The original plan for KLIA was to have four satellite buildings, each to cater for 25 million passengers, totalling 100 million passengers.

There may also be plans to dedicate one satellite building for the oneworld alliance members.

A total of 64 airlines currently operate out of KLIA, of which three are flying out of the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang.

MAHB handled 40 million passengers last year, of which 25 million came through KLIA and 15 million from the LCCT.

The Government spent about RM10bil on developing KLIA 15 years ago to cater for up to 25 million passengers. MAHB, meanwhile, is spending RM4bil on KLIA2, which is an LCCT to handle 45 million passengers.

This aside, MAHB is furiously working towards opening KLIA2 for commercial operations on May 2.

This is despite the fact that KLIA2 has yet to receive the certificate of completion and compliance (CCC). But from the safety perspective, KLIA2 has received the nod from five out of the six agencies involved in the safety certification of the building.

The only pending approval is from Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd, and KLIA2 expects to cross that hurdle by early April as it is hoping to secure the CCC by mid-April.

In the meantime, it has begun the operational readiness and airport transfer (Orat) tests to get ready for the May 2 opening.

Four airlines are expected to operate from KLIA2, the anchor being AirAsia followed by Malindo Air, Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific. During the last Orat meeting held on Monday, all the four airlines present were asked if they could begin operations on May 2, and none is said to have objected.

Once KLIA2 is ready and functioning, MAHB will convert the LCCT to be used for cargo operations.

Since there has been a series of delays in the opening of KLIA2, the main contractor for the main terminal building - UEMC-BinaPuri - has been incurring liquidated and ascertained damages of RM199,445.40 per day since June 16, 2013. As of yesterday, the total amount due is said to be about RM60mil.