KLIA-klia2 link will boost air traffic, says Mavcom

KLIA has exceeded its capacity of 25 million passengers a year but klia2 is only reaching 70%.

PETALING JAYA: Airside connectivity between KLIA and klia2 will see the two terminals integrated and potentially improve traffic growth, says the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

In a report published on its website on the benefits of integrated terminals, Mavcom said integrations through airside connectivity could also reduce congestion at KLIA without the need to build additional terminals.

“KLIA utilisation is more than 100% while klia2 is only reaching 70%,” it said.

KLIA has the capacity to handle 25 million passengers a year, but last year it handled 28.3 million passengers.

klia2, which is designed to handle 45 million passengers a year, only handled 31.9 million last year.

“Discussions with stakeholders reveal that airlines are reluctant to move to klia2 as there is no connectivity between klia2 and KLIA,” Mavcom said.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, the country’s main airport operator, has plans to introduce airside transfers and interlining to connect KLIA and klia2.

Mavcom noted that integrated terminals at Singapore’s Changi Airport and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport had fewer incoming flights yet much higher Hub Connectivity Index scores due to lower minimum connecting times.

“In cases where terminals are integrated within one building, there are also cost-savings, as facilities like Customs, Immigration & Quarantine (CIQ) and baggage-handling systems do not need to be duplicated,” it said.

Mavcom said that integrated terminals allow for seamless interlining and transfer connection facilities between full-service carriers and also between full-service carriers and low-cost carriers.

Interlining benefits those travelling on itineraries with multiple flights from different airlines by allowing for their baggage to be automatically transferred between airlines at the transiting airport.

Citing the experience of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI), Mavcom said the passenger traffic increased after AirAsia moved to Terminal 1 in December 2015.

It also noted that all airlines operating from the airport have benefited from being in an integrated terminal.

“Arguably, KUL’s traffic could have grown faster if its terminals were integrated, similar to BKI’s case,” it said. KUL is the collective air industry name for KLIA and klia2.

Yesterday, transport studies scholar Roger Teoh said the planned airside transfers and interlining facilities between KLIA and klia2 will improve connectivity between the two terminals, benefiting local and international travellers as well as airline operators.

Teoh, a PhD postgraduate student at the Centre for Transport Studies, Imperial College, London, said airside transfers would allow passengers to transfer between KLIA and klia2 without the need to exit and re-enter customs and passport controls.

With these services, he said, KUL could benefit from more transfer and transit activities from both local and international travellers, and offer more services from airlines serving different routes and destinations.