KLIA2 slammed for failure to consider needs of budget airlines

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has lashed out at Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), saying that it failed to consider the needs of budget airlines when developing KLIA2.

PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said MAHB was "not being customer-centric" when it did not prioritise the needs of the low-cost airline industry, which might have led to an increase in operating costs for budget airlines.

"MAHB should be building airports for people to use and not determine what people should use.

"This is a very glaring point that should be highlighted from our findings on the construction of KLIA2," he told reporters.

The committee's report on the project was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

In the report, PAC found that the KLIA2 project did not follow its original concept as a replacement for the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and ended up being a "hybrid concept terminal" following unexpected cost increases and upgrades.

"As a result, KLIA2 seems to be threatening the position of the existing KLIA as the main airport in Malaysia."

"Malaysia has lost a golden opportunity to develop the most competitive low-cost carrier hub in the Asia Pacific region," the report said.

KLIA2, which was designed to accommodate 45 million passengers yearly, began operations on May 2 this year, with a price tag that ballooned from RM1.7 billion (S$658 million) to RM4 billion.

The PAC report also found that KLIA2 was "too big", making it difficult for passengers to get from one place to another as well as incurring additional costs for the installation of walkalators.

"The shopping centre concept outside the check-in counters was overdone and not appropriate with the plans for a low-cost carrier terminal," the report said.

PAC urged the Government to order the Auditor-General to carry out a full and thorough audit on KLIA2.

"We call on the A-G's Department to identify individuals involved and the main causes for the problems so that follow-up action can be taken," the report said.