Asian airports battle for low-cost business


Low-cost terminals are becoming a reality in Asia with the opening of two separate facilities within the space of three days. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last week opened its low-cost carrier terminal, just beating rival Singapore Changi’s Budget Terminal to the cutting of the ribbon.


The fact that two Asian airports have opened low-cost terminals reflects the growing demand for greater efficiencies and increased aircraft turnaround times.


The success of low-cost carrier AirAsia and increased passenger numbers sparked the decision to construct KLIA’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal. Designed to suit the low-cost business model, the terminal has no travellators, escalators or airbridges. The 35,290m2 terminal has one single-storey building for both departures and arrivals. It is designed to handle 10 million passengers a year, with the potential for expansion. This will ease congestion at KLIA’s main terminal building. Construction began in only June last year on a fast-track basis and cost around 108 million ringgit ($29 million).


Singapore’s new Budget Terminal is comparable with Kuala Lumpur’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal – it is 25,000m2 in size, cost S$45 million ($28 million) to build, and is similarly basic. Budget Terminal (below) however has a smaller capacity – it will initially be able to handle about 2.7 million passengers a year, with potential to handle up to 5 million. Tiger Airways is Budget Terminal’s anchor tenant, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore is in talks with other carriers.


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