The low cost carrier, AirAsia plans to build its airport

January 9th, 2009 - 4:30 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  

Air Asia Airasia , the budgeted carrier said it will shift to its own US$460 million airport outside Kuala Lumpur, and abandon its overcrowded terminal next to the main international airport.

The national airport operator’s plans to build a new Low Cost Carrier Terminal next to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), to replace the existing facility that opened in 2006.

AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes told ‘We believe in lowering our business costs, it is the key to our success.’

‘The new airport which will be known as KLIA East will provide more capacity for aircraft and passengers, and enable us to bring down fares,’ he said, adding that costs could be lowered by 30 per cent.

Mr Fernandes rejected criticism that KLIA has more than enough capacity to handle AirAsia’s growth plans, and that the sprawling city has no need for what would be its fourth airport.

‘I think we know what we need, we are not silly,’ he said. ‘There is nothing here (at the old terminal) to add value to our passengers. Allow us to take our destiny in our own hands.’ Mr Fernandes said the new airport would be exclusively for AirAsia, and designed to handle up to 30 million passengers annually. Construction could begin within six months with a completion date of March 2011.

The new airport will be linked by new train and road links, and be about 30 minutes drive from the city centre but less than the journey to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

AirAsia has outgrown its terminal adjoining KLIA, which has no rail links with the city or the main airport, and has become increasingly crowded and unpleasant for passengers.

The terminal was completed in just nine months, with a capacity for 10 million passengers and a provision for expansion to 15 million passengers.

The expansion of the current low-cost terminal is due to be completed by March, but by then AirAsia will already have exceeded its enlarged capacity with some 15.7 million passengers a year.

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