Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Pua: Which part of 'low-cost' doesn't MAHB get?

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua has questioned if Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAHB) understands the concept of ‘low cost’.

azlanThis is given that the cost of constructing KLIA2 to replace the Low-cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) has doubled from RM2 billion to RM3.9 billion.

Additional facilities at KLIA2 will include provisions for super-scale A380 operations, walkalators, a fully automated baggage handing system, a shopping mall and four hotels.

"Essentially what MAHB is building is a terminal that is 80 percent larger than the current terminal...This gives the impression that KLIA2 is a replacement for the KLIA main terminal instead of being a new LCCT," noted Pua in a statement.

The terminal is being upgraded from two floors to nine floors, at a cost of RM420 million more, while its size is being expanded by 130.7 percent at an additional RM670 million.

NONEPua pointed out that the new terminal is being upgraded to handle 45 million passengers from 30 million originally, when KLIA has a capacity for 25 million but only handles 18.7 million passengers.

"The penchant to spend big money for grandeur has resulted in Malaysia missing a true and rare opportunity to bring about a game-changing transformation for the aviation sector."

Shareholders of MAHB, including Khazanah and the government, must question MAHB’s reckless expenditure, he said.

"One could argue that, had MAHB not overspent on KLIA2, there would have been no need for the recent 28 percent increase in airport tax from RM25 to RM32 at LCCT and RM41 to RM65 at the main terminal, which resulted in lower competitiveness for Malaysia."  

‘Focus on efficiency’

Saying that Malaysia today serves fewer passengers than regional competitors like Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, he called on MAHB to improve its efficiency instead.

"The Transport Ministry must give an assurance that there will be no further cost increases and no further delays in the construction and operation of KLIA2, (as this would) further jeopardise our leadership in the increasingly competitive low-cost carrier industry."

AirAsia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes had yesterday vented on Twitter over the doubling of the cost of KLIA2 and complained about the increase in airport tax.

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