Malaysia’s recently opened low-cost airline terminal is to be expanded and upgraded next year in response to complaints about overcrowding and a lack of facilities, a report said Monday. “We will be providing better amenities and more chairs for the comfort of those using the LCCT (low-cost carrier terminal),” Malaysia Airports CEO Bashir Ahmad told The Star newspaper.
Bashir said that Malaysia Airports has been holding talks on the project with AirAsia—the Kuala Lumpur-based budget carrier which is so far the only airline to use the terminal.
The Star likened the scene at the terminal to a “disaster relief centre”, with weary travellers sitting on trolleys, lying asleep on the floor or slumped over tables at fast-food outlets.
However Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Monday he had asked Malaysia Airports to hold off on the plans, which would disrupt arrivals next year when Malaysia is planning a major tourism push.
The Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign is aimed at attracting 20.1 million visitors, up from the expected 17.5 million this year.
“We are expecting about 60,000 tourists or 70,000 tourists per day and out of this amount, maybe half will come in by air,” Tengku Adnan told reporters.
“There will be a lot of activities at the airport so we’ve told (Malaysia Airports) not to do anything ... until after Visit Malaysia Year 2007,” he said.
“If not, there will be a lot of construction. There will be a lot of hassle for tourists to come in.”
The low-cost facility which is designed to handle 10 million passengers a year opened in March, just before neighbouring Singapore launched its own no-frills terminal in a race to secure the burgeoning budget sector.
From the start, the Malaysian terminal, a warehouse-style building located 20 kilometres (13 miles) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, has been criticised for expensive food and a lack of seating.
There was also dismay that the high-speed train which connects far-flung KLIA with the city does not run to the new terminal and construction on an extension line is yet to start.