Malaysia Airports to proceed with key upgrades

Upgrades to the baggage system will mean a reduced waiting time for passengers at the luggage carousel and fewer disruptions to flight operations.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will proceed with key upgrades at the country’s main gateway, KLIA, its group CEO Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh says.

Speaking to FMT, Mohd Shukrie said the upgrading of the baggage handling system and the ageing Aerotrains were “mission-critical” upgrades which could not be postponed despite the financial impact of Covid-19 and global travel restrictions.

“In fact, this is possibly the best period to proceed with the upgrades as there will be limited disruptions to passengers and airlines.”

Once the baggage system was upgraded, Mohd Shukrie said it would be able to process larger volumes of baggage, and screen and sort the baggage more quickly.

“This means a reduced waiting time for passengers at the baggage carousel and fewer disruptions to flight operations,” he said, adding that the upgrade was scheduled to begin at the end of the year and completed in several years.

The new baggage system, he said, was part of MAHB’s Airports 4.0 initiative aimed at leveraging technology to drive operational efficiency.

“The latest baggage system screening technology is not just about convenience but security as it will be able to screen suspicious baggage faster and more efficiently.

“The system also allows for real-time information and data analytics to be shared with ground handling operations and other relevant members of the airport community to reduce the risk of mishandled baggage and disruptions to operations.”

On the Aerotrains which connect the main terminal to a satellite building, Mohd Shukrie said the replacement of the old trains would result in reduced congestion, both in the boarding areas and in the trains.

The Aerotrain’s three-car capacity will also be increased, while the signalling systems will be improved and the elevated tracks rehabilitated.

“The trains will now be monitored through high-definition CCTVs for better security, and multipurpose display screens will keep passengers informed of flight information, public service announcements and commercial retail promotions.”

The new Aerotrains, he said, would ensure better passenger comfort and social distancing as part of the new normal.

Mohd Shukrie said in the new normal, passengers needed to feel safe and confident to travel.

“There will be high dependency on automation and technology to keep the travelling public safe as the world waits for an effective vaccine,” he said, adding that this was something Malaysia Airports had planned to do through its Airports 4.0 initiative long before the Covid-19 outbreak.

“These mission-critical upgrades mean that KLIA is ensuring that it is well prepared for the post-Covid-19 new normal, equipped with enhanced services and standards.”