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As KLIA2’s faulty runway still causing delays, AirAsia says it could hurt Visit Malaysia Year 2020

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PETALING JAYA, Nov 1 — Prolonged repairs on the faulty third runway between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the KLIA2 has caused daily landing delays of up to six or seven minutes per flight, AirAsia Group airlines have said.

AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X’s respective chief executive officers Riad Asmat and Benyamin Ismail said in an interview with Malay Mail yesterday that the resulting delays have caused losses worth millions, as the carriers are forced to cut capacity and increase maintenance spending.


To the low-cost carrier, the problematic Runway 3, which Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) announced this month would be partially shut down for “upgrades”, outlined AirAsia’s frustration with the country’s main airport operator.

Riad said this month’s closure was the latest in a series of problems dogging the landing path, something AirAsia has repeatedly requested MAHB to address. 

In the past, there had been at least two repairs involving Runway 3 that spanned months, and Riad said the faulty tarmac had also damaged the company’s planes.

“You can find potholes and sinkholes and what not,” the AirAsia CEO said during a visit to Malay Mail’s office here yesterday.

“Now we only have two-halves of a runway which is delaying flights... you know we’re forced to cut capacity by at least 7 to 10 per cent.”  

And with Visit Malaysia 2020 just two months away, there are concerns that delays in repairing the third runway could lead to wider complications that may jeopardise the government’s own tourism campaign, and with that a key source of revenue.

One runway less means airlines could be forced to fly fewer flights and bring in much fewer visitors to the country, on top of losing money to maintain an idle workforce and grounded planes.  

But Benyamin said just like the many grievances over how MAHB is running airports in the country, AirAsia’s concerns often fall on deaf ears. 

More: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/11/01/as-klia2s-faulty-runway-still-causing-delays-airasia-says-it-could-hurt-vis/1806034

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Alamak uncle Tony, Heathrow can manage many more pax with two runways. I’m sure you’ll make do with the same 

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1 hour ago, Izanee said:

Alamak uncle Tony, Heathrow can manage many more pax with two runways. I’m sure you’ll make do with the same 

But Heathrow is different. Heathrow isn't as high yield as KUL is and time is of the essence at KUL 🙄

CGK, an Air Asia Group base/hub and much busier airport than KUL, was also operating with 2 runways only until they opened the third runway a few months back. Didn't see any complains from AK Group there. Runway delays at JFK are so common due to runway constructions that it can literally take 2-3 hours just to clear the backlog but yet you don't see JetBlue or Delta complain about it.

First they complain that KUL's runway was bumpy and MAHB needs to repair it and now when they are fixing it, they complain that they runway is closed for repairs.

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How long is the repair expected to run?  It's not even 2020 yet.

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23 minutes ago, Waiping said:

How long is the repair expected to run?  It's not even 2020 yet.

See: http://www.klia.com.my/media-centre/news/runway-3-kul-undergoes-upgrades-planned

This runway "upgrade" is really taking a long time - DXB can do refurbish and upgrade their runway much quicker, just 45 days! I am sure the scope of work is different but they managed to do what is necessary. See: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/travel-hospitality/421387-dubais-dxb-returns-to-full-capacity-as-runway-reopens

I think it would have been easier if MAHB did a complete closure to conduct the repairs - it is more difficult to work around an operational runway.

 

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4 hours ago, Craig said:

CGK, an Air Asia Group base/hub and much busier airport than KUL, was also operating with 2 runways only until they opened the third runway a few months back. Didn't see any complains from AK Group there.

AK Group operates a lot more flights from KUL than they do from CGK. So the cumulative effect of the delays (especially on AK) may be quite a lot more in KUL.

And when pax complain about delays, it is not MAHB that has to deal with them.

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3 hours ago, flee said:

AK Group operates a lot more flights from KUL than they do from CGK. So the cumulative effect of the delays (especially on AK) may be quite a lot more in KUL.

And when pax complain about delays, it is not MAHB that has to deal with them.

From the report:

Quote

Prolonged repairs on the faulty third runway between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the KLIA2 has caused daily landing delays of up to six or seven minutes per flight, AirAsia Group airlines have said

6-7 minutes per flight. It adds up for sure, but petty much? Again, there are way more congested airports in the world that only operates with 2 runways but you don't see the main carrier(s) there complaining about it (have you heard about JT/GA complaining about CGK, SQ/3K complaining about SIN or CX/HX complaining about HKG)?

They have a choice - close the entire runway (not sure if the construction is feasible/required) but AK Group will not be happy too and they will ask why don't they do it in phases and at least keep it open during peak hours (which is exactly what they are doing now).

Why would pax complain to the airline if it's ATC delay or weather? 

Edited by Craig

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4 hours ago, flee said:

See: http://www.klia.com.my/media-centre/news/runway-3-kul-undergoes-upgrades-planned

This runway "upgrade" is really taking a long time - DXB can do refurbish and upgrade their runway much quicker, just 45 days! I am sure the scope of work is different but they managed to do what is necessary. See: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/travel-hospitality/421387-dubais-dxb-returns-to-full-capacity-as-runway-reopens

I think it would have been easier if MAHB did a complete closure to conduct the repairs - it is more difficult to work around an operational runway.

 

DXB only has two runways and it’s much busier than KUL. Closing one runway has a tremendous impact on operations, so of course they’d have to rush the repairs. EK had to trim a significant chunk of flights when DXB was on one runway ops. Do you see the AK group shelving a third of its flights because KUL is down to 2 runways?

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2 hours ago, Chris Tan said:

Do you see the AK group shelving a third of its flights because KUL is down to 2 runways?

If you had read the article linked above, you will know that they did cut some of their flights.

Quote

“You can find potholes and sinkholes and what not,” the AirAsia CEO said during a visit to Malay Mail’s office here yesterday.

“Now we only have two-halves of a runway which is delaying flights... you know we’re forced to cut capacity by at least 7 to 10 per cent.”  

 

Edited by flee

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3 hours ago, Craig said:

Why would pax complain to the airline if it's ATC delay or weather? 

I don't know about u - but most pax will blame the airline first, for whatever problems there are in the flight. Not everyone is aware who is at fault. As far as they are concerned, it is the flight that has been delayed and the airline is at fault.

I know there are other airports that also suffer delays - but u have to look at what happens at klia2. It is a s#1t airport to come to, if delayed flights suddenly arrive at the same time. Customer experience suffers. I really don't mind if my flight is delayed at Changi - it is much more tolerable than klia2.

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41 minutes ago, flee said:

If you had read the article linked above, you will know that they did cut some of their flights.

 

And if you put any thought into the article instead of taking it face value you might find that it’s an awfully convenient excuse to cut excess capacity. Let’s not be so naive, shall we? KUL is hardly bursting at the seams. As pointed out by others, KUL isn’t in desperate need of a 3-runway operation quite yet.

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AirAsia says KLIA2 not all bad, can still be visitor magnet if MAHB, Mavcom ‘listen’

PETALING JAYA, Nov 2 ― The AirAsia Group believes the systemic inefficiencies dogging Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) could be rectified to optimise the low-cost terminal’s potential if regulators pay attention to feedback.

AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X chief executive officer Riad Asmat and Benyamin Ismail told Malay Mail in a recent interview that the country’s main low cost carrier is more than willing to cooperate in the matter, especially with Visit Malaysia 2020 under two months away.

The two said the AirAsia Group remains keen to ensure next year’s major tourism push succeeds, even as it initiated legal action against Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) in a RM480 million suit, and blamed the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) for it.

“You saw what Tony tweeted,” Riad said when the two visited Malay Mail’s office here on Thursday, referring to AirAsia Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. 

“Go ahead and hate me, but please work with my guys. We want to help too, and we can make this work.”

“Of course we can work together,” he said.

“In fact we still feel we will have to but they also need to be open.”

Full report: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/11/02/airasia-says-klia2-not-all-bad-can-still-be-visitor-magnet-if-mahb-mavcom-l/1806095

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2 minutes ago, Chris Tan said:

And if you put any thought into the article instead of taking it face value you might find that it’s an awfully convenient excuse to cut excess capacity. Let’s not be so naive, shall we? KUL is hardly bursting at the seams. As pointed out by others, KUL isn’t in desperate need of a 3-runway operation quite yet.

I think we will have to agree to disagree - Airasia Group has already reported their operating statistics for the third quarter and excess capacity is nothing to be alarmed about with its load factor of over 80%. I agree with you that KUL can operate OK with two runways even though its operations are not as efficient as LHRs or DXBs.

That was why I said earlier that it would be better to completely close runway 3 and do comprehensive and permanent repairs to it instead of shutting it down once a while just to do temporary patches.

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8 hours ago, flee said:

I don't know about u - but most pax will blame the airline first, for whatever problems there are in the flight. Not everyone is aware who is at fault. As far as they are concerned, it is the flight that has been delayed and the airline is at fault.

I know there are other airports that also suffer delays - but u have to look at what happens at klia2. It is a s#1t airport to come to, if delayed flights suddenly arrive at the same time. Customer experience suffers. I really don't mind if my flight is delayed at Changi - it is much more tolerable than klia2.

I don't know about you, but if Air Asia (or any airline for that matter) announces to me whilst waiting either at the gate or on board that my flight is delayed 6-7 minutes due to air traffic congestion, I wouldn't think that that airline is trying to save cost by getting further back in the queue.

Have you been to LAX, JFK, LGA, FCO, CDG T1, TXL, CGK T2, KBV, HAN, SGN, DMK etc.? Those airports are far worse if you are there for an extended delay. And well, if you are delayed en-route or on the taxiway, then it doesn't make a difference anywhere. But I like how you compare SIN to KUL but yet we cannot compare their PSC to ours 🤷‍♂️

7 hours ago, flee said:

That was why I said earlier that it would be better to completely close runway 3 and do comprehensive and permanent repairs to it instead of shutting it down once a while just to do temporary patches.

From the MAHB Press Release:

Quote

According to the group chief executive officer of Malaysia Airports, Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, the team has taken all the necessary measures to inform all stakeholders involved ahead of time, especially the airline partners, to ensure that the passenger journey remains seamless throughout the initiative, as well as to allow the least disruption to flight operations and management for the airlines. Several options were presented during the engagement sessions with regards to the duration of maintenance works and the duration of 9.5 months was the option agreed upon by all stakeholders, including airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

Maybe you know better than all the stakeholders or airlines 😀. Sounds like AK agreed with the schedule (again, AK being one of the main operators at KUL and Runway 3, I really doubt MAHB just disregard their opinion). They would have known a year in advance about the scheduled disruption along with the capacity cut if necessary but they didn't voice their concerns then but now when the public can see the construction and runway closures, they start complaining. Opportunist much? Now you know why they never complain in a foreign country? Other countries can see right through it and ask them to pound sand.

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My early morning flight to KCH was cancelled last month just a couple of days before the flight. Official reason given: AK stated in the communication that it was due to Runway 3 closure. Part of me feel this is just a cheap excuse to hit out at others. I probably suspect it has more to do with load than Runway 3. I changed flight to Malindo with similar departure time, and load was very light as well. 

Based on MAHB's announcement, it seems that AK is already in the know and agreed to it - then one may question why the flight cancellation at the last minute as if the  runway closure is a sudden unexpected incident affecting flight operations. 

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10 hours ago, Craig said:

I don't know about you, but if Air Asia (or any airline for that matter) announces to me whilst waiting either at the gate or on board that my flight is delayed 6-7 minutes due to air traffic congestion, I wouldn't think that that airline is trying to save cost by getting further back in the queue.

Have you been to LAX, JFK, LGA, FCO, CDG T1, TXL, CGK T2, KBV, HAN, SGN, DMK etc.? Those airports are far worse if you are there for an extended delay. And well, if you are delayed en-route or on the taxiway, then it doesn't make a difference anywhere. But I like how you compare SIN to KUL but yet we cannot compare their PSC to ours 🤷‍♂️

From the MAHB Press Release:

Maybe you know better than all the stakeholders or airlines 😀. Sounds like AK agreed with the schedule (again, AK being one of the main operators at KUL and Runway 3, I really doubt MAHB just disregard their opinion). They would have known a year in advance about the scheduled disruption along with the capacity cut if necessary but they didn't voice their concerns then but now when the public can see the construction and runway closures, they start complaining. Opportunist much? Now you know why they never complain in a foreign country? Other countries can see right through it and ask them to pound sand.

6 to 7 mins delay is only if u are on the first flight out of KUL. The cumulative effects on the subsequent flights could be much greater as many of Airasia's planes do 6-8 sectors a day.

I am not a fan of SIN's PSC either - they even have the cheek to charge you a fee for T5 even before you use the airport. Same for HKG, which charges for third runway construction before you even land on it. However, I was looking at the total cost of travel most of the time - some of that cost is not measurable in $$$. So, the total travel experience is smoother and more pleasant - this is even evident to me, even on the KUL-SIN flights.

As you have cautioned earlier, reading press reports and releases should be done with a grain of salt. I would also be cautious when reading the MAHB release. As I have said again, the volume through KUL is the highest on the Airasia Group (see: https://ir.airasia.com/misc/AAGB-Prelim-3Q19-Operating-Statistics.pdf ) - as such, the impact is far greater and wider. Furthermore, it would be naive to think that other airports don't receive complaints. Just because there are no public spats does not mean that there are no issues. Perhaps they were resolved as the airports dealt with their complaints while complaints to MAHB mostly fall on deaf ears? Hence the only other possible course of action is to make the issues public.

Airasia has also mentioned before that most of the other airports work with them like partners, not treat them like enemies. Airports like NGO, CGK, SIN, etc. work with them to meet their requirements. With MAHB, it is more like a take it or leave it attitude that prevails. So, is it any wonder that MAHB does not seem to be able to solve problems after so many years?

Edited by flee

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1 hour ago, flee said:

Airasia has also mentioned before that most of the other airports work with them like partners, not treat them like enemies. Airports like NGO, CGK, SIN, etc. work with them to meet their requirements. With MAHB, it is more like a take it or leave it attitude that prevails. So, is it any wonder that MAHB does not seem to be able to solve problems after so many years?

By working with them to meet their requirements, do you mean bending over backwards to meet their demands? Because I don't remember seeing Changi build an LCCT because TF threw a tantrum. Or remove the aerobridges at T4 because they're deemed an unnecessary luxury. Do those governments entertain AirAsia's demands for lower PSC/taxes just because they're low-cost?

If anything, this goes to show that MAHB is willing to even entertain AirAsia's nonsense. They know that going around kicking up a fuss in public isn't going to gain any traction in other countries.

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3 hours ago, flee said:

6 to 7 mins delay is only if u are on the first flight out of KUL. The cumulative effects on the subsequent flights could be much greater as many of Airasia's planes do 6-8 sectors a day.

Hence MAHB did what AK requested and agreed to. They only closed it part of the day so maybe that 6-7 minutes during morning peak is then not snowballed towards the end of the day. If AK didn't agree to the closure schedule, they'd definitely come up and say it, but they didn't. Are you that naive to think that AK wouldn't come out and shut MAHB up if MAHB put words in AK's mouth in the press release?

3 hours ago, flee said:

However, I was looking at the total cost of travel most of the time - some of that cost is not measurable in $$$.

So do I. And I'd say 99% of the passengers do the same. No one looks into the breakdown of air fare and taxes. Why do you think AK kept asking MAHB for lower PSC at KUL T2?! They can charge a higher fare than other non KUL T2 users but yet it will come up as the same total price on the search engines.

3 hours ago, flee said:

Just because there are no public spats does not mean that there are no issues. Perhaps they were resolved as the airports dealt with their complaints while complaints to MAHB mostly fall on deaf ears? Hence the only other possible course of action is to make the issues public.

Airasia has also mentioned before that most of the other airports work with them like partners, not treat them like enemies. Airports like NGO, CGK, SIN, etc. work with them to meet their requirements. With MAHB, it is more like a take it or leave it attitude that prevails. So, is it any wonder that MAHB does not seem to be able to solve problems after so many years?

Maybe there are public or private spats - I don't know. But I do know one thing for sure, it's not as frequent or as petty as AK is. Have you seen BA complaining in public to BAA about LHR in public or DL/B6 complaining in public to PANYNJ about JFK? If those airlines were complaining that their flight is delayed 6-7 minutes because of runway construction (even in private), those airport authorities will ask the airline to eff off. And 6-7 minutes delay due to 1 of 3 runway closures? I'd say that's an amazing job. See what happens in other airports when one of their runways is out (hint: JFK and SFO have about the same amount of passengers passing through). You'd be lucky if you are delayed 1 hour at those airports if one of the runways is out.

Do you really think MAHB really treats AK Group as their enemies? Bite the hand that feeds them? (albeit sometimes MAHB have to twist AK arms for late payments and vice versa) I'd say there are disagreements between the two but enemies? Far from it. 

Edited by Craig

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Lets all agree to a fact that AK is not behaving like a matured corporate entity with too frequent childish outbursts against MAHB since time can tell on social media / other media. It seems obvious they agreed to something behind closed doors and say something else to the public. Kinda getting tired seeing them constantly labelling MAHB as a bully while AK on the other hand thrived to become one of the worlds success story. I truly believe on the "dont bite the hands that feed you" analogy. 

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3 hours ago, Chris Tan said:

By working with them to meet their requirements, do you mean bending over backwards to meet their demands? Because I don't remember seeing Changi build an LCCT because TF threw a tantrum. Or remove the aerobridges at T4 because they're deemed an unnecessary luxury. Do those governments entertain AirAsia's demands for lower PSC/taxes just because they're low-cost?

If anything, this goes to show that MAHB is willing to even entertain AirAsia's nonsense. They know that going around kicking up a fuss in public isn't going to gain any traction in other countries.

Airasia has praised Changi T4 and have often said that if only it was working like that with MAHB on klia2. I think that overall, they are satisfied with what Changi can provide. Even though they may have to pay more at Changi, there are no hidden costs caused to aircraft and other equipment caused by sinking aprons, burst fuel supply pipes and bumpy runways that feel like a rocking horse etc.

If you think Airasia is giving nonsense, you should try working in their operations departments and see what nonsense they need to put up with every day to keep things on an even keel. I think I would have given up a long time ago. Kudos to them for keeping their heads down and working against the odds.

I think that for the past two days, runway 3 is completely closed and all flights now use the two existing runways. It may be too challenging for airlines, ATC and contractors to keep runway 3 partially open.

Edited by flee

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1 hour ago, Pall said:

I truly believe on the "dont bite the hands that feed you" analogy. 

The passengers are the hands that feed Airasia and MAHB. So it is incumbent upon them to serve the passengers well and not bite them...

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11 minutes ago, flee said:

The passengers are the hands that feed Airasia and MAHB. So it is incumbent upon them to serve the passengers well and not bite them...

This is referring to the spat between MAHB and AirAsia. Lets keep the focus there. 

Either way AK is no angel when it comes to serving passengers, their ticket prices have gone way above the two FSCs happily operating out of KLIA1 on most occasions these days. So yea lets keep the discussion between that issues. Otherwise the circle of opinions will stray off. 

Edited by Pall

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1 minute ago, Pall said:

This is referring to the spat between MAHB and AirAsia. Lets keep the focus there. 

Either way AK is no angel when it comes to serving passengers, their ticket prices have gone way above the two FSCs happily operating out of KLIA1 on most occasions these days. So yea lets keep the discussion between that two issues. Otherwise the circle of opinions will stray off. 

If you want to narrow that to the spat, then it is Airasia that feeds MAHB. Without Airasia, there would be no need for klia2. Hence zero problems for MAHB.

On that note please also don't drag KLIA1 into the discussion as they use different buildings and runways. They don't have the same issues. I am sure Airasia will also be happy at KLIA1, if they are allowed to operate from there.

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23 minutes ago, flee said:

If you want to narrow that to the spat, then it is Airasia that feeds MAHB. Without Airasia, there would be no need for klia2. Hence zero problems for MAHB.

On that note please also don't drag KLIA1 into the discussion as they use different buildings and runways. They don't have the same issues. I am sure Airasia will also be happy at KLIA1, if they are allowed to operate from there.

Then ask AirAsia to operate back at KLIA1, who asked them to leave in the first place? It is AirAsia who pestered MAHB to build LCCT. Good for everyone AirAsia grew exponentially and needed a bigger space, hence why klia2 was made in the first place. Why are they not happy? Yes design issue is the problem, so work your way around it. I'm not denying MAHB could have done a better job with klia2, there are always issues with GLCs which could have done a better job not only for our airports but all of the other infrastructures in the country. But the fact remains AirAsia will never stop complaining be it pre and post GE14 with either sides of the political coin, and they will keep pointing their fingers at everywhere else. We definitely cant be Singapore but it is how it is. They keep pushing on their propaganda to move their main operations out of KUL, look what has happen with the so called shift to Jakarta? Where does it leave them, back to KUL. This tricks don't work elsewhere. Now i heard TF is doing the same scheme at BKK. Let's see how far can it go. 

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