22 December, 2008
I REFER to "Proposed LCCT to be privately funded" (The Star, Dec 20). The Government should reconsider whether a new airport dedicated to low cost airlines' operations should be built in Nilai.
The project may not be financed by the Government but several factors have to be considered seriously before work actually starts on the project.
First, operating two airports – the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the proposed Nilai Airport – within a distance of about 20km does not make aviation sense.
It will be additional workload for "Lumpur" the air traffic control centre at Subang Airport when Nilai Airport starts operations.
Apart from having to coordinate KLIA and Nilai Airport, "Lumpur" is also responsible for Subang Airport civil and military operations, and all aircraft entering Malaysian air space.
Approach and departure charts of KLIA will have to be redone and approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the local regulatory body before it can be put into use.
Nilai Airport will need to have its own air traffic control tower and the necessary air navigation systems, including an Instrument Landing System and VHF Omnidirectional Range.
What happened to the Government's plan to make KLIA an aviation hub in the region? When Nilai Airport starts operations, there will be a drastic reduction in aircraft movements at KLIA, resulting in under utilisation of the facility.
What happened to the plan to build an LCC Terminal with a capacity of 25 million passengers next to the satellite building at KLIA? This seemed to have fizzled out just as fast as it was conceived.
Would-be travellers should not be misled into believing that they would pay lower airport tax at Nilai Airport with plans for state-of-the-art technology and aero-bridges. This might instead translate into higher taxes than what is currently charged by MAHB.
The reason is simple ¨C the shareholders of the airport will need to recoup their investments. The Government has no control over what private investors charge.
Thailand abandoned plans to build an airport for LCC operations as Suvarnabhumi Airport would then be reduced to just another airport in the region, and not become an aviation hub as envisaged. The Thai government opted to go ahead with the expansion of Suvarnabhumi to strengthen Bangkok's status.
Our priority should be to develop KLIA with a new LCCT, not place private interest first.
Subang Jaya, Selangor.
This article is a verbatim copy of the original article from The Star.