19 April 2013
THE construction of klia2 is on track, with the DCA Tower completed, and ahead of schedule.
On average, the construction of the new permanent low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang is 87% done, although different jobs are at different stages of construction.
So, there’s only 13% more to go and that includes the commissioning period. Airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is monitoring the progress on a daily basis.
And while the contractor for the tower did a speedy job, the same cannot be said of the original Runway 3 (R3) contractor. The original R3 contractor had actually confessed over two months ago that they could not finish the job on time.
While that was being very frank, fortunately, MAHB managed to get a replacement contractor the one that completed the tower and is proceeding on to the R3 job.
At present, the R3 works seem to be progessing on schedule at seemingly no extra cost, although the original contractor might lose some money because of his sunken cost. However, that is the price to pay for non-timely delivery. At this juncture, the R3 should be completed on time.
On the topic of delivery, several changes have been made to the completion date of klia2. Deferred from last year to April, we are now staring at June 28, the latest target date for completion.
This week, the winds of speculation blew again and an analyst hinted in his report of “an increased probability that klia2 would not be able to start operations by June 28”.
Any delays would possibly lead to cost overruns, from the planned budget of RM4bil to, perhaps, RM4.5bil, assuming there is a delay. However, it should be noted that the RM4bil includes a small buffer for the unforseeable.
The analyst also pointed out that MAHB might need time to run tests and checks before commissioning the airport, and this could take an additional three to six months. But all that is well within the completion timeline.
While the analyst is entitled to his views, it is really up to the contractors to complete the job on time.
No party should drag their feet and try to get more in acceleration works while they are busy undertaking other jobs elsewhere. In short, they should not compromise one job over another.
But then again, complicated airport construction works to opening delays is a given around the world. The Denver airport, for instance, faced huge baggage system problems on Day 1. The Hong Kong airport, meanwhile, had its own issues, while the Doha airport had to delay its opening. Not to be outdone, the Berlin airport has delayed its opening four times!
Whatever the issue or problem, the key is for all parties to work towards completing the job on time, and ensuring that on the opening day and subsequently, there are no glitches, as klia2 is set to be the main gateway for low-cost traffic.
The opening day experience should be a memorable one and not one filled with frustrations.
For that, a delay is better than a glitch, because at the end of the day, a glitch is something passengers tend to remember.
l Deputy news editor B.K. Sidhu feels the focus should be on getting the job done, and well, without resorting to a rushed job.