Rarely has there ever been this much drama over the opening of an airport terminal. The spanking new KLIA2, dubbed the world’s largest purpose-built terminal dedicated to low cost carriers (yup, that’s quite the distinction), is set to open this Friday, replacing its more homely predecessor, the LCCT. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s new?

  • KLIA2 will be four times the size of LCCT with a total area of 257,000 square metres – the largest low cost carrier terminal in South-East Asia.
  • Expected to accommodate 45 million passengers every year – three times more than LCCT.
  • The runway can accommodate the Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.
  • There will be up to four hotels in KLIA2, and one shopping mall.
  • It will be accessible by rail, via KLIA Ekspress and KLIA Transit.
An artist impression of what KLIA2 will look like when it opens this May 2.

An artist impression of what KLIA2 will look like when it opens this May 2.


The cost

KLIA 2 was initially estimated to cost RM1.7bil in July 2007. But various upgrades to the plans – including an automated baggage system, a larger terminal building (increasing capacity from 30 million to 45 million passengers) and an enlarged runway (to potentially accommodate larger aircraft like the A380) – have doubled the cost to almost RM4bil.


It is not uncommon for airport projects to face delays, but the constant upgrading of the original KLIA2 master plan – finalised in 2008 with an April 2010 completion date – and various safety issues have seen the project miss multiple deadlines.

One of the most recent delays came in February when two thirds of the main terminal building failed to meet fire and safety standards. Those issues were quickly resolved, allowing Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (Orat) procedures to continue, and it now appears certain that the opening date of May 2 set by Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will be met.


Just weeks before the opening of KLIA2, AirAsia – who are set to account for 80% of the passengers there – announced they would be remaining at LCCT due to concerns regarding the functionality, safety and security of the new terminal.

Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) hit back, saying they had complied with almost everything requested by AirAsia, except for a spa and a museum – claims which AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes refuted.

Finally, after an intervention from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, everything appeared to be sorted out two weeks ago when AirAsia made a statement confirming that they would, in fact, be making the move to KLIA2 by May 9.

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