AirAsia Group tells airport operator to urgently fix long klia2 immigration lines

A man walks past a KLIA2 display in Sepang August 22, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A man walks past a KLIA2 display in Sepang August 22, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) must immediately address the worsening congestion at immigration counters in klia2, said low-cost carrier AirAsia Malaysia and its long-haul counterpart AirAsia X Malaysia.

AirAsia chief executive officer Riad Asmat said the long queues for foreigners were now a daily occurrence and severe enough to cause some passengers to miss connections and appointments.

“As Malaysia gears up to welcome 30 million foreign tourists for Visit Malaysia 2020, the airport is the first encounter visitors have with the country, and it is shameful that their first experience of our country is one that showcases inefficiency and poor customer service,” he said in a statement.

Riad said the queues at Immigration counters could last for over an hour during peak periods such as between 3.00am and 7.00am, 2.00pm and 7.00pm, as well as 9.00pm and midnight.

AirAsia X chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail said the immigration congestion is due to klia2’s poor design and flawed configuration.

He said this was raised with MAHB before.

“We were given an assurance that adjustments would be made to extend immigration clearance into the area presently occupied by the duty-free outlets. However up to now we have not seen anything done to address the problem, and congestion has worsened daily, with some passengers having to endure long queues that stretch all the way back to the disembarkation gates.

“The Immigration Department has been very understanding and helpful, ensuring all counters are opened during peak periods. Aside from that, there is nothing much further they can do as the floor space and configuration at klia2, including the ability to add more counters and extend the queuing area falls under MAHB’s responsibility,” he said.

Both Riad and Benyamin then urged the Malaysian Aviation Commission to step in as the regulator and national aviation consumer protection body to ensure the issue is quickly resolved.