Minister says won’t rename KLIA2 but will hear AirAsia out

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the government was willing to listen to the concerns of the budget carrier, which accounts for the largest share of passenger traffic at KLIA2. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the government was willing to listen to the concerns of the budget carrier, which accounts for the largest share of passenger traffic at KLIA2. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — There will be no name change for KLIA2, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai insisted today, despite AirAsia’s ongoing campaign to promote the budget terminal as Low-Cost Carrier Terminal 2 (LCCT2).

The minister pointed out that KLIA2 has been used since its inception two years ago and said there was no need to change the name just “for the sake of changing”.

“In the International Air Transport Association, KLIA2 is registered as part of KLIA’s official code, namely ‘KUL’.

“It is neither necessary, nor practical, nor accurate to rename KLIA2. Names should not be changed for the sake of changing,” Liow said in a statement.

He added, however, that his ministry acknowledges AirAsia’s intention to brand KLIA2 as a low-cost terminal is part of its efforts to bring in more travellers to the country.

The minister said the government was willing to listen to the concerns of the budget carrier, which accounts for the largest share of passenger traffic at KLIA2.

“We are open to hear from them what proposals they may have in place in order to position KLIA2 internationally as a leading low-cost terminal to spur the nation’s tourism and aviation industries,” Liow said.

Earlier this month, AirAsia announced plans to launch a campaign promoting KLIA2 as LCCT2, saying it would reinforce Kuala Lumpur’s position as the leading low-cost gateway to Asia and beyond.

In a statement, AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said KLIA2 “doesn’t mean anything” to him while LCCT2 was synonymous with the low-cost concept.

“It is a brand that we built up together with MAHB and it shouldn’t go to waste. I urge MAHB to stop denying the fact that it is a low-cost hub,” he said, referring to the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

Yesterday, AirAsia stood firm on its plan to refer to the terminal as LCCT in its websites, tickets and promotional materials, even saying that the campaign may continue forever.

MAHB, however, said the budget carrier would be acting in violation of aviation laws if it proceeds with its campaign.

In his intervention today, Liow called the ongoing debate “unnecessary”.

He said Putrajaya is committed to continue supporting and providing incentives to encourage the growth of Malaysia’s low-cost airlines sector, adding that the government has also played a role in AirAsia’s successes.

“The ongoing debate is unnecessary. All parties in the aviation sector must collaborate and work together for the benefit of Malaysia and all Malaysians,” the minister said.

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