AUGUST 19 — I returned from overseas last week and was shocked to see the queue for foreigners at the Immigration check point to enter the country — it was so long it almost flowed into the line meant for Malaysians.
My initial reaction was “wonderful” — so many tourists coming into Malaysia and can only be good for us.
However, my initial joy was shortlived when I went to collect my bags — there were hundreds of bags lying all over the place because the tourists were still in the Immigration queue.
I struggled to find my bag among the mess. The arrival hall was congested.
I thought this was a one-off situation — maybe the Immigration electronic system was offline but alas I have been told that this is the constant occurrence at KLIA and KLIA2.
My friends who work at the airport told me that KLIA is so congested that they themselves had to work double time to help cater for the extra traffic especially with it being the Arab season now and Malaysia has again become the flavour of Chinese tourists.
It was reported that some 10 million Arab and Chinese tourists are headed our way and my friend tell me that KLIA cannot handle such a load.
Then yesterday I left for Bangkok for a day trip from KLIA.
It was the same scene as last week only this time at the departure side. Queues were long whether it was to self-check in, Immigration, security, buy coffee or at the duty free.
I don’t think the people who planned the KLIA 25 years ago had planned for such arrivals or departures.
I also read with interest that there are efforts to push Malindo back to KLIA2 but the airline is resisting it because it has code share agreements with international airlines. They want to be in the same terminal as their partners.
I nearly boarded the wrong aircraft because my Bangkok flight on Malaysia Airlines shared the same departure gate with a Malindo flight to Vietnam. If airlines have to share departure gates for flights within minutes of each other, then it can only mean that airport is congested.
I would like to call on the authorities to act quickly before the congestion becomes a turn off to tourists entering Malaysia. They need to expand the airport quickly.
Since Malaysia Airlines is now promoting itself as a regional airline, maybe the airline should be moved to KLIA2 for the moment. The second terminal is built to cater for more aircraft and passengers, maybe this would ease the load at the main terminal while the authorities work on expanding it.
After all only Air Asia seem to be the only airline using KLIA2, moving Malaysia Airlines there would make sense in terms of connection and passenger load.
I understand that the passenger taxes are cheaper too at KLIA2, so it would also make economic sense for Malaysia Airlines.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.