17 October 2019
Long queues that span over an hour are now a daily occurrence
The Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) must urgently fix the “worsening” congestion in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) before an expected 30 million tourists arrive in Malaysia during next year’s Visit Malaysia campaign, low cost carrier AirAsia has said.
Riad Asmat, chief executive officer of AirAsia Malaysia, said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 17) that long queues for foreigners are now a daily occurrence. According to the CEO, the congestion is now severe enough for “countless guests” to miss connecting flights and appointments.
“The airport is the first encounter visitors have with Malaysia, and it is shameful that their first experience of our country is one that showcases inefficiency and poor customer service, particularly with Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) just around the corner,” he added.
According to AirAsia, some guests have to queue for over an hour during peak periods such as between 3am to 7am, 2pm to 7pm and 9pm to 12am.
“The problem is caused by the poor design and flawed configuration of klia2,” said Benyamin Ismail, chief executive officer of AirAsia X, the carrier’s long-haul arm.
Benyamin said that MAHB had previously assured that adjustments would be made to extend immigration clearance into areas presently occupied by duty-free outlets.
“However, up to now we have not seen anything done to address the problem and congestion has worsened daily, with some passengers having to endure long queues that stretch all the way back to disembarkation gates,” he added.
AirAsia’s statement added that even though the Immigration Department keeps all counters open during peak periods, there was nothing much more the authority could do to alleviate the congestion.
MAHB is responsible for the floor space and configuration at klia2, including the ability to add more counters and extend queuing areas, the carrier said.
Both AirAsia executives urged the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) to step in to ensure that the matter is quickly resolved.
This is not the first time AirAsia has spoken out against MAHB.
Both companies have been involved in a series of lawsuits over various issues relating to the management of airports, particularly klia2.
Most recently, the airline group filed a suit against MAHB for nearly RM480 million due to “loss and damage” caused by what it said was MAHB’s negligence, New Straits Times reported.