1. Pertama sekali, marilah kita bersama-sama memanjatkan rasa syukur kepada Allah SWT kerana dengan limpah kurnianya dapat kita bersama-sama pada petang yang penuh keberkatan ini bagi menyaksikan upacara yang bersejarah di dalam industri penerbangan di Malaysia.
2. Sejak lapangan terbang KLIA dibuka secara rasminya pada 27 Jun 1998 yang lalu, KLIA telah menyaksikan pertumbuhan trafik yang amat memberangsangkan terutamanya dalam beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini. Kini KLIA melangkah maju setapak lagi dengan bermulanya pembinaan sebuah terminal baru bagi menampung pertambahan penumpang yang kian meningkat. Alhamdulillah kita bersyukur kerana industri penerbangan tanahair berkembang dengan begitu pesat, dan inshaAllah kita yakin apabila beroperasi nya terminal yang baru ini kelak, maka kita akan menyaksikan lonjakan berganda akan berlaku, membawa industri penerbangan negara ke tahap yang jauh lebih tinggi.
Ladies and gentlemen,
3. Our country has seen many significant infrastructure projects being built in our time, all of which have not only been greatly beneficial for the development and growth of our nation, but have also made us proud. Today we witness the beginning of another important infrastructure project that will provide impetus for the continued growth of our economy and particularly for the development of our aviation and tourism industries, which is the construction of the new LCC terminal at KLIA.
4. Undoubtedly the construction of this new terminal will mark the nation’s growth and leadership in aviation, not only in the region but also in the world. As YBhg Tan Sri Bashir pointed out in his speech, we are setting quite an impressive global benchmark, as this is the only mega terminal in the world dedicated and designed for low cost carriers.
5. In our National Airport Master Plan (NAMP), the government has laid out a strategic development road map to provide for the growth in air travel demand over the next 50 years across the nation. The NAMP’s position is that the continuous expansion of existing Low Cost Terminal is no longer a feasible option. Considering the exponential traffic growth in the low cost sector, the government has prioritized the immediate development of a mega low cost terminal that would meet the low cost travel needs for at least the next 10 to 15 years. This is a variation from the original KLIA Master Plan as low cost travel and its extraordinary boom in this part of the world was never previously envisioned nor anticipated. Little did we know then, that the low cost air travel will completely alter an airport’s services and facilities in terms of specifications and requirements. Fortunately for us, we were flexible enough, we were able to adapt and able to accommodate the low-cost carriers’ needs for the past few years at the current LCCT. However the time has come to once again revolutionize the airport terminal design for low cost carriers and passengers in order to stay ahead of competition.
Ladies and gentlemen,
6. It goes without saying that given the rapid growth of low cost air travel, the construction of a project such as this new terminal brings the country many benefits. Not only will it serve as an economic stimulus by providing job opportunities to the people of Malaysia, it will also boost tourism by attracting more airlines and visitors into the country. This facility will greatly enhance our vision to increase tourism revenue from the current RM53billion in 2009 to RM 168billion by 2020. With globalization, providing the best air travel services and facilities without a doubt is an important catalyst to promote trade and investments into the country. Malaysians stand to gain from the increased economic activities and job opportunities. In the New Economic Model implementation I stressed on these two factors, wealth creation and employment generation, and I believe that the construction of this new terminal stands to deliver the results outlined in the New Economic Model.
7. The timing of this project could not have been more right, as the country is just emerging from the effects of the global economic slowdown in 2009. As you know this construction is part of the economic stimulus package announced by Government last year, spurring the private sector to steer the economy from the recessionary trends. In fact it is the largest contributor to the privatised stimulus package. I am happy to note that 99% of the contracts have and will be awarded to local companies. I would like to applaud Malaysia Airports for its role as an engine of growth for the nation and for its leadership in driving the aviation infrastructure development.
8. I am also pleased to hear that Malaysia Airports had today successfully completed its inaugural first tranche issuance of Islamic Medium Term Notes under its Sukuk Programme to part finance the development of this new terminal and at the same time contribute towards the active development of the Malaysian capital markets. I have been informed that the offering attracted an overwhelming order size from a diverse group of investors. This demonstrates how far Malaysia Airports has come since its earlier days of corporatization in 1992. The AAA rating by RAM Rating Services Berhad and the overwhelming demand for its Islamic Sukuk is a strong testimony of Malaysia Airports’ solid financial footing post its restructuring in February 2009. Under its New Operating Agreements, Malaysia Airports is now setting a great example of a unique public-private partnership arrangement with the Government, striving for both operational excellence and financial performance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
9. As I have mentioned earlier, we have witnessed exponential growth in air travel since the introduction of low cost carriers. The current LCCT is capable of handling up to 15 million passengers per annum, and is almost reaching the full capacity. Over the last 10 years low cost travel at KLIA has grown on an average of 37% per annum. The double digit growth is expected to continue for the next 5 to 10 years despite intense competition from other large airports in the region. I have to make a special mention and compliment AirAsia for their innovative efforts to stimulate low cost travel in the country and together with Malaysia Airports’ role in supporting the growth of this burgeoning travel segment. This strategy should be a winning partnership between both of them. Malaysia Airports has anticipated that KLIA as a whole would handle over 60million passengers by 2020 and close to 45% of those passengers are likely to be low cost travelers.
10. The spill-over effects of having this captive market at our airports is immense, from a commercial perspective. Following the footsteps of the established successful airports, such as Heathrow London and Schiphol Amsterdam where the airports are much more than just a place to catch flights, Malaysia Airports has envisioned our own airports as the platform to drive commercial business. With its vision to be a World-Class Airport Business, I am encouraged to know that besides operating top notch airport facilities and services, there will also be ample retail and commerce opportunities that will allow Malaysian businesses to capitalise and benefit from the influx of tourists and spending power flowing continuously through the arrival and departure gates.
11. I am happy to note that this new terminal will incorporate state-of-the art architecture, facilities and interior design to provide greater services and comfort level to airlines and passengers alike, a substantial improvement over the current LCCT. I have been told that Malaysia Airports has adopted a rigorous approach in the award of various contracts to maximize the deliverables. With Malaysia Airports’ expertise in airport operation services – that has been acknowledged locally and also internationally through its successful business ventures overseas- I am confident that the new terminal construction will not only meet, but surpass expectations. Nevertheless as I mentioned earlier, in tandem with the world-class infrastructure, we must also put forth our best human capital in striving for service excellence. In line with the government’s aspiration, focusing on the development of the human capital is essential to provide the best services to travelers and airport customers.
12. I am glad to note that while this new terminal is designed with great consideration for the requirements of the the region’s largest low cost carrier, AirAsia, it will be accessible to all airlines upon completion. With the thriving low cost travel in the region, the new terminal is poised to serve as a hub and attract more low cost carriers to fly to Kuala Lumpur, further strengthening our efforts to make Malaysia the top-of-mind destination for leisure and business travel.
13. Together with the existing main terminal catering for full service carriers which has already attracted more than 50 airlines, KLIA is poised to reinvent itself as the Next Generation Hub by taking passenger connectivity to a new level. The objective is to allow passengers to experience a seamless process in making flight connections between the terminals whether through low cost or full services airlines.
14. As I commend Malaysia Airports for undertaking the development of this second terminal at KLIA, I would like to give the assurance that the Government is committed to develop all the 39 airports in Malaysia. We will collaborate with Malaysia Airports, to seek their expert advice on the upgrading requirements of our domestic and international airports and together, we can truly build a thriving airport and aviation industry that will benefit our people and contribute substantially to our economic growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
15. I have every confidence that the ceremony today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the history of air transportation in Malaysia. Without doubt it is another major milestone for Malaysia Airports as it makes its mark as one of the most successful airport operators in the world. This new LCCT, when completed, will be another beacon of achievement for Malaysia Airports and will showcase to the world our capabilities in airport construction and management. I wish Malaysia Airports all the very best and on that note, and with the recital of the holy words “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim” it is with great pleasure that I officiate this ground breaking ceremony and the naming of the new LCCT which is to be known as KLIA2.