19 June 2013
Its CEO Aireen Omar said news of the 11-month delay in the opening of the new airport, from the target date of June 28, was not a surprise for the frills-free carrier, as it had predicted the delay.
"This is what we’ve always predicted, that the airport would only be ready in the second half of next year.
"We hope the April 30, 2014 airport completion deadline is the final one. We cannot afford to defer our expansion plans any further," she told Bernama in a telephone interview from Paris.
Aireen was responding to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd‘s announcement Monday that the new completion date for klia2 is April 30, 2014, and will begin operations on May 2.
Aireen said now that the airport’s opening had been delayed, contractors must ensure the safety and quality of the new terminal.
She said AirAsia was concerned about the safety of its passengers and airport users at large, and it hoped that MAHB and contractors would ready the terminal technically, systematically and operationally.
"These are the ones that usually require a substantial amount of time for a smooth and safe operations from a new airport," she said.
Aireen also said AirAsia, as the largest airline to utilise klia2, had yet to receive any official notification from MAHB on the new date for completion and operations.
"Certainly, lack of transparency right from the beginning has affected all parties in terms of planning.
"We’re disappointed – MAHB should have been more transparent and honest about it (the delay) from the beginning," she said.
The completion date for klia2 has been revised several times. This range changes made to the original plan to include a bigger terminal to handle more than 40 million passengers and installing an automated baggage handling system.
The new airport, envisaged to handle up to 45 million passengers a year, will have 60 gates, eight remote stands and 80 aerobridges, plus a 32,000 sq m retail space with 225 retail outlets.
The project was first tendered out in 2009. Its initial cost of RM1.9bil has since ballooned to some RM4bil with the bigger capacity plans and recent analyst reports indicating it could escalate further to RM4.5bil.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced in January that klia2 would be launched on June 28 to coincide with the launch date of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in 1998.
Last month, MAHB announced klia2’s fifth delay, without giving any new date. – Bernama