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I’m arrogant and KLIA2 now cost RM 4 Billion double the original estimate – Tony Fernandes

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Hundreds of passengers waiting for scheduled flights were stranded at the LCCT Sepang for almost 4 hours today (4th July 2012) due to unknown reason but suspected due to a major technical breakdown at the airport. Passengers waiting to board flights and passengers who arrived were stranded for hours.

At press time, our attempts to contact the LCCT personnel for their updates have been futile. Some dissatisfied passengers contacted The Kuala Lumpur Post and complained as they were left in the lurch and airport officers failed to update them on the delay.

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AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has urged Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to beef up its readiness to face the competition, saying most Asean countries are competing against each other to persuade greater involvement of low-cost carriers.

When KLIA2 was first proposed, Malaysia Airports (MAHB) said it would cost RM2 billion, a figure that was later revised to RM2.6 billion. Then came news that the terminal would cost RM4 billion, double the original estimate.

Now there’s talk that the bill could go as high as RM5 billion. That makes no sense the low-cost terminal will now cost much more than KLIA. Yes, I asked for a new terminal but one that has simple facilities. Did it have to cost 20 times our present LCCT?

These overruns are matched by delays in the completion date. MAHB originally said KLIA2 would be up and running by September 2011. Opening day was then pushed to the first, and later, the second quarter of 2012.

Well, here we are and construction is only half done. We’ve been told the terminal will only be operational by the first quarter of next year at the earliest or possibly early 2014 but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Those who attack me for questioning MAHB say I’m arrogant. But this isn’t attitude, it’s about not settling for second place and challenging things that are not right. Corporate Malaysia has to tell our leaders what’s wrong.

Neither is this about government-linked companies versus private ones. It’s about being the best, period.

I am proud to be Malaysian and want this country to excel. But an undependable airport operator does no one any favours, not least when our neighbours are taking aggressive steps to tap into the rapid growth of low-cost carriers.

Already Thailand has made Don Mueang the low-cost hub for Bangkok. The Philippines too has designated Clark as the gateway for no-frills carriers. Singapore is building a new budget terminal which will more than double capacity to 16 million passengers a year from seven million.

It’s clear the world won’t wait for MAHB to get its act together. Time is running out. – Tony Fernandes (blog)