Malaysia’s airport to go into expansion mode


KLIA international airport in Kuala Lumpur. Source: Shutterstock

TOURISM NUMBERS to and around Asia is set to grow to 2.1 billion passengers in the next two decades and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is gearing up to take on some of the load.

According to recent OAG Aviation Worldwide Limited study, people are looking for cheaper ways to travel and the conventional booking trends, such as non-stop flights, are being ditched in favor of self-connecting flights.

As this money-saving travel hack rises among younger travelers, layover times at airports will also increase.

To manage the rise in passengers, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is looking to expand the airport’s capacity from 75 million to 150 million over the next couple of decades.

This will also coincide with Malaysia’s target of attracting 36 million international visitors by 2020.

MAHB expect passenger traffic through the terminals it manages to rise 6.3 percent over 2018.

In addition to the self-connection trend, MAHB also expects to see a rise in passengers as visa application processes are simplified.

Early last year the Malaysian government set up eVisa systems for eight Asian nations as well as for Serbs and Montenegrins.

The implementation of these new entry processes became necessary after neighboring countries such Indonesia and Thailand upped their promotional ante to attract more Chinese and Indian tourists, New Strait Times reported.

AirAsia X Indonesia also began operating direct flights between Bali and Mumbai, which reduced the number of passengers transiting through KLIA.

With its focus on expansion, MAHB also aims to put Kuala Lumpur back in the top 10 Asia Pacific airports customer service category after it fell to 12th from ninth place in 2017.