Kuala Lumpur International Airport: rapid passenger growth but challenging terminal imbalance

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Passenger traffic at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) surged by 11% in 2017, with double-digit gains at both of the airport’s terminals. Traffic has increased nearly 50% since 2014, when the second terminal (KLIA2) opened, along with a third runway.

Operating with two terminals and three runways provides ample capacity for growth and puts KLIA in a strong position relative to other Asian hubs, which are grappling with serious infrastructure constraints. However, KLIA’s main terminal is now operating above capacity, whereas KLIA2 is underutilised and unpopular with airlines.

The current imbalance between the two terminals is not easy to solve. Moving Malindo Air, Malaysia’s third largest and fastest-growing airline, is one proposal. However, Malindo does not want to move back to KLIA2 – and should not be forced to – as it is increasingly relying on interline traffic.

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