Oh dear, the problems are certainly “sinking in” now for KLIA2.
KLIA2, which opened in May 2014, is currently used by all LCCs (low-cost carriers) serving Kuala Lumpur except Air India Express, which operates only 4 weekly flights to Kuala Lumpur. Its latest addition was Jetstar Asia, which moved to KLIA2 on 8th July 2015.
You can imagine how busy the airport is, what with it being the hub for low-cost flights. Unfortunately, there has been recurring issues with the terminal that have raised some serious concerns.
For starters, KLIA2 is sinking.
When KLIA2 first opened in May 2014, AirAsia initially refused to move citing concerns over flight operations and security. The carrier gave in after the government said it would stop immigration and customs services at the old budget terminal. But now, the issues with KLIA2 are so obvious that cracks have started appearing in the taxiway and water forming pools that planes must drive through.
And according to AirAsia Bhd., such defects could cause flight delays, increase wear and tear on planes and pose potential safety risks.
AirAsia Bhd. CEO Aireen Omar was quoted as saying that the airport is still sinking, and though take offs and landings aren’t affected, the carrier has asked Malaysian authorities to fix the problems before passengers get hurt. She also added that although the operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. (MAHB) has done some partial resurfacing, what the airport actually needs is a permanent solution.
In a separate report by The Star Online, AirAsia Bhd.’s Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes was quoted as saying:
We feel that we should have never moved in the first place. And I was right on these issues. I hope we can stop repeating these mistakes. I was really frustrated that one of our aircraft wheels have bent. And I have a picture of this on Twitter.
Tony also went on to add that such incidences would add costs to the company as a whole.
“Let’s be transparent and honest about this. Don’t continue to keep hiding and admitting what the issue is all about. Someone has got to be accountable and the board (of MAHB) has to take responsibility. We need better services,” he said.
Tony Fernandes has been quite vocal about the issues that AirAsia aircrafts and KLIA2 has been facing, and has kept his Twitter followers updated with some of his rising concerns. In case you missed it, here are some of his tweets:
Is this to be expected?8 hour delay due to plane slipping of chocks . The board has to take responsibility pic.twitter.com/X7EAt3jvft
— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) July 27, 2015
After more than one year remedial work still being done. If only someone listened to us. So much wasted money. pic.twitter.com/khBwmrhRYE
— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) July 21, 2015
The AirAsia group of airlines flew 15.2 million passengers through KLIA2 in its first year of operation, accounting for 87% of the terminal’s traffic, according to Malaysia Airports data.
According to Malaysiakini, Malaysia Airports said the depressions and ponding at KIA2 were caused by differential soil settlement in the apron and taxiway, where some of the structure is built on piling and some stands on normal ground. The settling “has been anticipated from the start of construction,” Malaysia Airports said in an e-mailed response to questions.
The airport is currently addressing the issue by patching and resurfacing problem areas and injecting polyurethane under the ground. A concrete slab to be completed by next April will provide a more permanent solution, Malaysia Airports said.