Author Topic: Analysis: Southeast Asia’s airports struggle to keep up  (Read 345 times)

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Offline thaiga

Harry Suhartono Singapore
It is a common scene at most of southeast Asia’s main airports: planes forced to circle overhead or idle on the tarmac and travellers stuck in serpentine queues at immigration desks, security checkpoints and baggage carousels.

And it is likely to get worse in capitals such as Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila as overcrowded airports and outdated infrastructure are twinned with a huge spike in the number of aircraft in the region.

Southeast Asian carriers have ordered $47 billion (R359bn) worth of aircraft for the coming decade but the deals could be under threat because of the inability of airports to keep pace.

“You can buy as many aircraft as you like but if the infrastructure does not keep up then you are going to see a degraded service that may prevent you from executing plans to grow the airline,” said Andrew Herdman, the director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.
Passengers queue as they check-in inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila March 21, 2012. It's a scene repeated endlessly at most of Southeast Asia's main airports - planes forced to circle overhead or idle on the tarmac and travellers stuck in serpentine queues at immigration desks, security checkpoints and baggage carousels. And it's likely to get worse in capitals like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila in years to come as overcrowded airports and outdated infrastructure are twinned with a huge spike in the number of aircraft in the region. Picture taken March 21, 2012

The problem could force low-cost carriers such as Malaysia’s AirAsia and Indonesia’s privately held Lion Air to delay or cancel some orders.

Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport now serves more than 51 million passengers a year, more than twice its design capacity when it was built in the mid-1980s. Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is often beset by two-hour immigration queues and is running over capacity less than six years after it opened, which led Thailand’s government to encourage low-cost carriers to move to the old Don Muang Airport to ease congestion.

Passengers can wait for hours at Kuala Lumpur’s overcrowded budget terminal. Operator Malaysia Airports is rushing to finish another budget terminal by April next year.

Projected construction costs have nearly doubled to 3.9 billion ringgit (R9.7bn) as the planned capacity of the new airport grew to 45 million passengers a year from 30 million.

Jakarta’s airport is infamous for planes sitting for nearly an hour on the tarmac before take off or circling as they await their turn to land. One-hour flights between Singapore and the Indonesian capital can easily drag to two hours or more because of the overcrowded runway.

The number of low-cost carriers has grown rapidly in southeast Asia over the past 10 years. Analysts and industry executives expect more growth due to a lack of reliable alternatives and strong economic growth.

Airport congestion makes it tougher for carriers to keep their on-time performance and pushes up operating costs as planes waste fuel waiting to take off or land.

“If this problem persists for the long run, airlines in general will have to take into account all the additional costs that they have to incur and pass them on to customers,” warned Edward Sirait, a director at Lion Air.

Lion recently firmed up an order for 230 Boeing 737s worth $22.4bn, eclipsing the record for the world’s biggest commercial aircraft deal.

Boeing sees Asia-Pacific carriers as the biggest buyers of planes over the 20-year period to 2030 as they are expected to acquire 11 450 passenger jets valued at $1.5 trillion – more than a third of global demand. – Reuters
http://www.iol.co.za/business/business-news/analysis-southeast-asia-s-airports-struggle-to-keep-up-1.1263408
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