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Mon, Feb 28, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Malaysia fast-tracks plans for budget-airline airport

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia will fast-track the construction of a planned airport terminal for Asia's growing budget aviation market in a bid to become a regional hub, reports said yesterday.

The construction of the terminal for low-cost airlines, which would be able to handle 10 million passengers a year, would begin in April and be completed within 14 months, Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said.

He told the Bernama news agency the government had decided to speed up the 100 million ringgit (US$26 million) project to help turn the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) into a regional aviation hub.

The new terminal would feature 23 bays that would enable it to take up to four times as many passengers as a similar terminal being planned at Singapore's Changi Airport, he said.

It could be expanded in the future to accommodate up to 50 million passengers a year, with bays for another 48 aircraft, he said.

"With the KLIA LLC [low-cost carrier] terminal, it has put us ahead in terms of LCC development in the region ... [it] would eventually become the regional LCC's operating hub," Chan said.

The government said the new KLIA terminal would help pioneer budget-carrier AirAsia.

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