Even since the observation hill was closed and being off limits to the public in the early 2000, plane spotting activity has been shunned away by the airport authorities. They do not recognize the hobby and they deemed it as 'a threat to the airport security'. It was rather bothersome to the spotters, where we had to 'duck and hide' behind bushes and oil palm trees whenever the 'bulis' in their 4wd with blue lightbar, patrolling around the airport perimeter road. We even tried to timed their patrolling schedule to avoid them.
There were also times where we had to come face to face with them. We had to show our identity cards for their 'record' purposes. Not all of them were 'bad cops'. Some were nice and allowed us to spot for a few more planes before asking us to leave. However, some unfriendly ones threatened us to leave immediately or face being escorted to their police station for further 'questioning'. In short, it was kind of a cat and mouse game that we had to endured for a few years.
Fast forward to today (17 June 19), the plane spotting environment has evolved for the better. It was a dream come true as Malaysia Airport opened their first purposely built observation deck called Anjung Spotter to the public and more importantly, to the plane spotters community. It is their commitment in elevating the airport experience among their guest, thus recognizing plane spotting as a healthy, inspiring and fun hobby.
I am glad to share with you some pictures of today's opening event.
Arrived at 0800. The staffs were rehearsing and doing final touch ups for the opening.
Some of the pictures contributed from spotters around Malaysia. This is not a permanent feature at the Anjung Spotter as it was taken away after the event.
Media registration. There were close to 80 guest, comprising of Airport and Airline staffs, RMAF personnel, Media and plane spotters.
Most of the VIPs and guest arrived between 0915 to 0945 and the event started about 1000 with a customary speech by MAHB CEO, Raja Azmi.
A rare sight where the two CEOs were 'in talking' terms.
RMAF was represented by Air Force Commander 1 Major General Datuk Zahani Zainal Abidin.
Anjung Spotter is officially opened.
(L-R) AirAsia GCEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, (MAHB) GCEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, (MAHB) Group Chairman Tan Sri Zainun Ali, RMAF Commander 1 Major General Datuk Zahani Zainal Abidin and MAHB COO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh.
Everyone was 'affraid' of the sun and heat, quickly went back down to the event area for Q&A and makan makan. Some remained on the deck to continue spotting.
Lastly, it is time for the event to come to an end. By 1200, most guest had left and the event crew started to pack up. Some spotters remained to spot in the afternoon.
On a side note. The Anjung Spotter opens from 0700 until 1900.