11 August 2019, By New Straits Times
For many decades, airports around the world including in Malaysia, were mainly gateways or a converging point for travellers from various destinations.
The changes brought about by the evolution in technology, coupled with the shift in the mindset and demand among travellers, however, has over the years transformed many airports from merely a transportation hub into a space for the community to spend time with their family and friends.
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) was built with that in mind. Currently serving low cost carriers including AirAsia, AirAsia X, Jetstar, Scoot, Cebu Pacific Airways and Indigo, klia2 is not an airport on its own but a second terminal to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The terminal was designed and built with modern facilities and services for passengers to have a comfortable and safe journey.
Apart from serving as an entry-exit point for the country and connecting point for travellers from many parts the world, klia2 is also a catalyst for economic growth contributing to the expansion of the neighbouring communities and development at nearby areas including Putrajaya, and Nilai and Seremban in Negri Sembilan.
The terminal handles a daily average of between 90,000 and 92,000 passengers during normal periods and an average of between 100,000 and 120,000 passengers during the peak season.
The airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) continuously strives to live up to the promise of providing a joyful passenger experience by ensuring the upkeep of the standard of services and facilities at the terminal.
A Caring Host
Running an airport is not just about maintaining its facilities, it is essentially a “people business”. So the airport operator has embarked on a “Happy Guests, Caring Hosts” service culture transformation encompassing the whole airport community to make sure that airport users are left with a lasting positive impression when passing through the airport.
Roving Airport CARE ambassadors are stationed in the terminal to provide assistance to passengers. Wearing an ‘Ask Me’ sash across their right shoulder, these ambassadors are stationed at four information counters throughout the terminal.
The information counters are located at strategic locations at the departure level, after the immigration counters for the international departure hall, satellite building as well as the arrival hall.
On many occasions, these ambassadors can also be spotted roving around the airport and are always ready to provide any assistance required including providing directions inside the terminal or for those seeking assistance for a wheelchair or baby stroller.
You can also seek help from these ambassadors if you require emergency medical assistance.
Among these ambassadors are staff who are multilingual providing much needed help to travellers and visitors with language barriers. Apart from having a good command of Malay and English, there are also ambassadors who can converse in Mandarin, Tamil and Arabic.
Another aspect of becoming a caring host making improvements in facilities available at the airport. One facility that was implemented to provide a seamless experience among passengers was the 30 units of self-bag drop (SBD) counters installed at klia2.
The SBD facility is Scan and Fly by SITA — a world-leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, that can be used by passengers, subject to their respective airline’s assignment of their check-in counters.
The SBD system aims to shorten the queue time from an average 2.5 minutes per passenger to only one minute per passenger when dropping off their luggage.
Passengers are only required to tag and drop off their bag within 30 seconds at the dedicated counters.
In making improvements at the terminal, MAHB also takes feedback from passengers. One example was on the walking distance.
Since last year, MAHB has increased the number of its free buggy service for the convenience of senior citizens and parents with small children. There are now a total of 15 buggies in operation with 30 drivers. Located after the immigration counters, the buggy operates with a frequency of every 10 minutes and takes passengers across the skybridge to gates L, P and Q.
There are also 42 travelators installed throughout the terminal to shorten the walking time for passengers. The moving walkway is a relief for travellers who are tired from a long flight or those who just want to enjoy a relaxing walk while enjoying the scenic view as they make their way to the respective departure gates.
A total of 150 baby strollers and 150 wheelchairs are also available for use by the elderly as well as families travelling with babies at the terminal.
Passengers can use the baby strollers and wheelchairs at all areas including all the way to the boarding gates.
They can then just leave the strollers and wheelchairs at the many stations dotted along their journey.
The terminal is also the first in Malaysia to house a dedicated Crew Processing Centre. The dedicated processing centre encompasses integrated processes that will reduce significantly the time taken by departing airline crew to reach the boarding gates.
The facility was designed to help airlines have a better turnaround and on time performance.
As part of efforts to digitalise the airport environment, MAHB will be implementing a Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS) at klia2 by December that allows for real-time validation of passenger information at all screening checkpoints.
This will help the airport and airlines to be more efficient in their operations. On top of that, the airport and aircraft security as well as the airline on-time performance will also be enhanced as baggage belonging to no-show passengers can be quickly identified and offloaded from the aircraft.
With the enhanced security aspects from the PRS, MAHB is able to implement the ‘open gate’ concept at all boarding lounges at klia2 terminal. Currently the boarding lounges are confined within glass walls for security reasons.
With the removal of that glass walls, there will be more space for passengers to sit and wait comfortably prior to boarding.
Passengers who are early no longer have to wait for the airlines staff to open the lounge to access the seating area. klia2 has started implementing the ‘open gate’ concept at one of the lounges and will continue to do so in phases.
Apart from the PRS, MAHB also has its own MYairports mobile application that offers real time information on flights at klia2 among its many features. Downloadable from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, the application enables digital interaction regarding the terminal information in the palm of their hands.
Currently available in two languages — Malay and English, the application helps travellers to also locate the nearest amenities such as toilets, auto-teller machines, money changer, luggage wrapping services as well as various options to shop and eat at klia2.
Resting and Relaxing Before Your Journey
For travellers who have to endure a long transit, there are rest areas with various types of seats at strategic locations at the terminal’s satellite building.
Travellers can kill time by watching movies or sports tournaments at dedicated lounges at the satellite building or pamper themselves on the massage chairs that are easily available throughout the terminal.
There are also free showers at some of the toilets at the satellite building for transit passengers who need to refresh themselves while waiting for their next flight.
Transit passengers for international departures who don’t mind spending a little more can also use the lounge, check-in and take a short nap at SamaSama Express located on the airside.
There are four types of rooms available at Sama-Sama Express with the price ranging from RM200 to RM450 for at least six hours (additional rates apply for the next subsequent hours).
For those who are hungry, klia2 offers a wide variety of dining options that are available on both airside and also at the main departure hall prior to checking-in. Passengers will be spoilt for choice and families can look forward to spending quality time over a meal before flying off.
The F&B outlets include fast food such as KFC and Popeyes as well as cafes such as Gloria Jeans and Starbucks,.Those who are seeking to indulge in local fare should try Bibik Heritage and Nooodles.
The klia2 terminal itself is a haven for travellers who are avid shoppers or foodies as there are more than 120 retail shops and 60 F&B outlets for both departing and arriving passengers.
Passengers can also choose to hop on the free shuttle services to get to Mitsui Outlet Park Sepang if they have time to spend before departing or upon arrival.
They can also get to the KLIA main terminal and the long-term car park using the free shuttle service. To families who are sending or waiting for the arrival of their loved ones, they can watch aircraft arriving and departing from the terminal from the open viewing deck, Anjung Tinjau.
A shopping haven
klia2 is a traveller’s dream, adopting a mall within an airport theme. The Gateway@klia2 is a mall integrated between the drop-off point and the airside of the terminal.
Apart from people sending off or picking up their family members and friends, droves of shoppers from neighbouring residential areas such as Sepang, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Nilai come here to shop to their hearts content. Tourists can also explore the mall while waiting for their departure or upon arrival.
The mall’s main anchor tenant is Jaya Grocer, and there are multiple shopping outlets offering clothing, sports equipment and personal care stores such as Uniqlo, Watson and Aeon Wellness.