Friday July 15, 2011
Provisions have been made in the design of the terminals at the new low cost carrier terminal, the klia2, to accommodate the installation of aerobridges, if required at any time by AirAsia group or other low cost carriers (LCCs).
However, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said in a statement yesterday that based on AirAsia’s decision not to use aerobridges at klia2 even during inclement weather or for long haul operations, the terminal is constructed without the installation of aerobridges and ramps will be provided instead.
“As AirAsia and AirAsia X will be the major airlines at klia2, it may not be worthwhile to incur the cost if the aerobridges are not going to be used.
“Discussions will be held with other LCCs as well on their requirements,” said MAHB.
klia2, which is under construction, will be able to cater up to 30 million passengers. According to MAHB, each airline and LCC has different business models and requirements.
One of the requirements is the usage of aerobridges in their operations. AirAsia has explained that its business model requires a quick turnaround time in order to increase aircraft utilisation.
“This will allow AirAsia to operate additional sectors in a day and reduce cost and offer lower fares,” said MAHB.
This works especially well for short and medium haul sectors but less so for long haul sectors such as those operated by AirAsia X.
Therefore, AirAsia has appealed for an exemption from MAHB’s policy of requiring airlines to use aerobridges.
To support AirAsia’s business model, the exemption was given. Subsequently, it had to be extended to other LCCs. Given the exemption, AirAsia has the option of not using aerobridges.
However in practice, AirAsia uses the aerobridges during inclement weather at airports in Malaysia where aerobridges are provided.
MAHB noted that airports in other countries in the region had made it mandatory for airlines to use aerobridges where provided as to enhance passenger convenience, safety and security.
Should the airlines choose not to use aerobridges, their aircraft will have to be parked in a remote position and bus the passengers to the terminal. AirAsia has explained that they have to use aerobridges at other countries as they are compelled to adhere to the regulatory requirements at these airports, as no exemptions are given.
The current charge to the airline for the use of the aerobridge is RM85 per usage.
Based on a full A320 aircraft carrying 180 passengers for both arriving and departing flights, the cost of using the aerobridge works out to be less than 25 sen per passenger.
This makes MAHB’s charge for the aerobridge the lowest in the region.
MAHB said it continued to receive feedbacks from the public requesting all airlines to use aerobridges to avoid inconvenience to passengers.
According to MAHB managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, MAHB would continue to engage AirAsia, AirAsia X and other airlines to look into the possibility of further aligning their operations to the needs of passengers.
Source: The Star.