Malaysian Transport Minister Kong urges MAHB to reconsider aerobridge decision
Asia-Pacific, September 7 2011
Putrajaya: Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) should reconsider its decision not to install aerobridges at its new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2), said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.
“I would like MAHB to reconsider and review their decision. In my opinion, Disability community’s request for an aerobridge is a very rational request, especially in today’s world with advance technology the mobility of disabled people are very important. MAHB should listen to them.
“It is not like the old days where disabled people are not as mobile as they are now. Not only that, it is actually a very good idea to install aerobridges because nowadays, human life expectancy is longer and aerobridges can cater to the elderly, the infants, pregnant women.”
Kong, who was speaking to reporters after meeting 11 representatives from disabled groups here today, agreed to bring the matter in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting.
He also added that KLIA is renowned worldwide as a first-class airport which means it should have “first-class facilities”.
“It is actually cheaper in the long run for MAHB to install aerobridges in KLIA 2 terminal. The calculated cost per passenger is around RM0.25 and you don’t have to maintain it unlike the proposed ambulifts replacement for the aerobridges. In the long run it will be beneficial for everyone,” said Kong.
Non-government organisation (NGO) Barrier-free Environment and Accessible Transport (B.E.A.T.) president Christine Lee who met Kong said that an aerobridge is in line with the government’s Malaysia My Destination programme.
“We want foreign pensioners to come here and spend their money. We want them to live here in our country. Being pensioners they are obviously senior citizens and yet we will not even provide aerobridges at our main terminals? At our international airports?
“These people are used to having aerobridges in their country, what makes you think they want to come here if we cannot even provide such a basic facility for them? Some of them are very old and are not physically fit. Some even need wheelchairs.
“I’m saying this because MAHB cited economic and financial reasons for not providing the aerobridge but in the long run, it will be cheaper because it’s a one-time investment which will benefit the country for years to come,” said the wheelchair user Lee.
In July, MAHB announced its decision not to install aerobridges at KLIA 2 following AirAsia’s requirements and business model. Its chairman Tan Sri Aris Othman said the total cost involved for 80 aerobridges is around RM104 million.
The RM2 billion KLIA 2 is expected to be completed in the second half of this year with an annual capacity 30 million passengers.
On another note, Kong also expressed his sadness and voiced his disappointment at the 20% increase in road accidents during the recent Ops Sikap.
“We tried our best to inculcate a culture of road safety in Malaysia. Everyone from government agencies, ministries to GLCs, and CSR programmes tried to teach the road safety culture.
Our studies show that it is the driver’s behaviour that causes accidents since 80% of the accidents occurred because of human error. The nation is suffering because of road accidents. Our losses amount to around RM9 billion because of accidents when you factor in insurance coverage, property damage, lost of life and losing the ability to work after an accident,” he said.