KLIA will replace Aerotrain system after over 20 years in service


The Aerotrain system at KLIA will finally be replaced after operating for over two decades. — Filepic

The Aerotrain system at the KL International Airport (KLIA) will finally be replaced after more than two decades in service.

The Aerotrain, also known as the Automated People Mover (APM), has shuttled more than 300 million passengers between the satellite and main terminal buildings over the years.

It has been in operation since KLIA opened 23 years ago.

Malaysia Airports managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said the current Aerotrains are approaching their end-of-life stage and need to be upgraded.

“It is no longer feasible to maintain the current Aerotrains. Old assets are more prone to break down and this will inconvenience passengers,” he said in a statement.

Iskandar added that the current Aerotrains were running on old technology, making it hard to source for parts.

Over the past few years, the ageing Aerotrain system frequently faced service disruption. Passengers were then required to use the alternative busing service whenever the Aerotrain broke down.

“The new Aerotrains will be upgraded together with the track system infrastructure, and this will also provide the airport with better operational efficiency,” Iskandar said.

The new Aerotrain will be improved in terms of safety, comfort, appearance, energy consumption and diagnostics, among others.

It will also offer flexibility for seamless connections for new terminals in the future.

In the meantime, Iskandar said that measures will be put in place to minimise disruption for passengers.

“No doubt there will be some inconvenience to passengers in the next three years during the upgrade period. While we will endeavour to minimise the disruption of service, passengers will continue to be shuttled using the airside bus service which has been running well as an alternative service since 2017,” he said.

Works for the new Aerotrain is expected to begin in March this year.

Technological upgrade

In other developments, SITA biometric-enabled self-service touchpoints have been deployed at both KLIA and KLIA2 following a significant technology upgrade.

The extensive technology deployment features a hardware and software overhaul, including introducing more than 100 SITA biometric-enabled self-service Smart Path kiosks – the TS6, SITA Smart Path Bag Drop, and an IT infrastructure refresh.

SITA president (Asia Pacific) Sumesh Patel said this new technology will support airports in its recovery from Covid-19.

“Ensuring fluid passenger experiences while balancing operational efficiency is a high priority for airports globally.

“With this deployment, we’ve delivered on both elements, future-proofing the airport for a touchless journey via enhanced biometric capability while also driving down operational costs and increasing the resilience and agility of IT infrastructure,” he said in a statement.

The upgrades are part of a broader transition from Airport 3.0 to Airport 4.0, which requires a fully integrated digital ecosystem that provides a seamless passenger journey with the use of business intelligence and the collection of big data.

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