Make KLIA great again: Loke eyes getting airport on Skytrax Top 10 list

SEPANG: Acknowledging the problems at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the airport must be restored to its former glory and "made great again".

"Twenty-five years ago when KLIA was opened it was one of the top airports in the world.

"We have to admit that there are a lot of challenges currently," he said during his keynote address at the grand opening of Plaza Premium Lounge at KLIA on Monday (March 20).

"As the minister in charge I do not want to sweep (the problems) under the carpet. We have to admit we have problems, we have issues, (and) we have to address them," he added.

Loke said he was unhappy with the latest ranking of the airport, which was among the Top 20 terminals worldwide 10 years ago.

According to Skytrax’s World’s Top 100 Airports for 2023, the terminal dropped five spots to 67th place.

"By now it should have been in the Top 10, not at the current ranking," he said.

He also said stakeholders including the ministry and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) must work together to restore the airport's status.

"This is your key performance indicator (KPI) and mine as well and of course, we have to work together," he said.

At a press conference later, he said the aerotrain services and baggage handling system were major problems that had to be addressed.

"We have problems with the aerotrain operations. They are 25 years old, (at the) end of life.

"Hence, (operations) have been halted for some time," he said, adding that passengers had voiced their grouses over the suspension of the service.

However, he said shuttle buses had been arranged as a temporary measure.

He said the number of shuttle buses had also been increased from 18 to 30 and the service was available at all times.

He said MAHB had put out a request for proposal for the rectification of the current aerotrain service.

"We have to expedite the repair of aerotrains and also upgrade. It is part of our plans.

"The baggage system is being improved. The system is outdated, we have to repair it.

"We have to understand that in 25 years the movement of passengers is increasing. What was sufficient 25 years ago may not be sufficient now," he said.

Apart from that, he added, the long queues for Immigration clearance also needed to be addressed.

He said airports were a gateway to the country, therefore attention had to be given to their standards.

Earlier this month, MAHB announced that operations of the aerotrains at KLIA had been suspended until further notice.

Its managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said this was because the existing trains were constantly breaking down given that the assets were 25 years old.

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