Fire at Malaysia's budget terminal triggers evacuation

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9, 2009 (AFP) - A fire broke out at Malaysia’s budget airport terminal Friday, forcing the evacuation of all passengers and staff and the suspension of flights, its main tenant AirAsia said.

AirAsia’s chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said the blaze, which occurred at a new section currently under construction, had been extinguished and that there were no reports of injuries.

“The fire has been put out. I’m proud of how my staff responded quickly to evacuate the people despite the alarm not working. Hopefully we can resume operations in the next one hour,” he told AFP.

Fernandes said the fire broke out at 11.15am (0315 GMT), and confirmed an hour later that it had been extinguished.

“There are no reports of injuries, no one is hurt,” he said.

AirAsia officials said the blaze, which brought operations to a standstill, had produced a lot of smoke but failed to trigger the fire alarms. Staff nevertheless shepherded all those in the terminal outside the building.

The new section of the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) where it occurred is due to be opened in the next few months.

An eyewitness at the scene, 31-year-old businessman Cham Ze Hoe, said that at least two fire engines had arrived at the terminal.

He said he joined a large crowd of people standing outside the building when he arrived to catch his flight but was prevented from going inside.

“I was stuck in a bus outside the LCCT and I thought it was a traffic jam… I got down from the bus and walked towards the terminal,” he told AFP.

“I could see smoke coming from the LCCT building. There were hundreds of people standing outside.”

The LCCT which opened in 2006 is located 20 kilometres (13 miles) from the capital’s main facility, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It is used by AirAsia as well as Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways.

AirAsia on Thursday unveiled plans to shift to its own 460 million dollar airport outside Kuala Lumpur and abandon the overcrowded LCCT which it has rapidly outgrown.

The warehouse-style terminal, built at a cost of 29.2 million dollars, was designed to handle 10 million passengers a year.

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Kebakaran berlaku di Terminal Penerbangan Tambang Murah (LCCT) pagi tadi, menyebabkan semua penumpang dan kakitangan dipindahkan dan semua penerbangan digantung, kata seorang pegawai kanan AirAsia.

Operasi diterminal itu pulih sepenuhnya pada kira-kira jam 1.30 tengahari.

Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif AirAsia, Datuk Tony Fernandes berkata, kebakaran itu yang berlaku di seksyen baru yang sedang dalam pembinaan, telah berjaya dipadamkan dan tiada laporan mengenai sebarang kecederaan

Katanya, beliau bangga dengan tindakan cepat kakitangannya memindahkan orang ramai di situ.

Fernandes memberitahu AFP yang kebakaran itu berlaku pada jam 11.15 pagi.

Para pegawai AirAsia pula berkata, kebakaran itu, yang mengakibatkan operasi di situ terhenti, mengeluarkan asal tebal tetapi gagal menghidupkan penggera kebakaran.

Kakitangannya bagaimanapun membawa keluar mereka yang berada dalam terminal tersebut.

Seksyen baru di LCCT itu, di mana kebakaran berlaku pagi tadi, dijadual dibuka beberapa bulan lagi.

Sementara itu, The Star memetik Tony sebagai berkata, tiada penerbangan yang dibatalkan, tetapi lebih 20 penerbangan dijangka terlewat.

Nampak asap

Seorang saksi di tempat kejadian, ahli perniagaan Chan Ze Hoe, 31, berkata, sekurang-kurangnya dua buah kereta bomba tiba diterminal tersebut.

Katanya, beliau tiba di terminal untuk penerbangannya tetapi tidak dibenarkan masuk ke dalam.

“Saya terkandas dalam bas di luar LCCT dan pada mulanya saya sangka berlaku kesesakan lalulintas…saya turun dari bas tersebut dan berjalan ke arah terminal,” katanya.

“Saya dapat lihat asap keluar dari bangunan LCCT. Terdapat beratus-ratus orang di luar bangunan tersebut,” tambahnya.

Terminal LCCT itu dibuka pada 2006 dan terletak 20km dari Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA). Ia digunakan doleh AirAsia, Cebu Pacific dan Tiger Airways.

Terminal LCCT berbentuk seperti bangunan gudang itu dibina dengan harga RM100 juta, dengan kemampuan mengendalikan 10 juta penumpang setahun.

Semalam, AirAsia mengumumkan rancangannya untuk berpindah ke lapangan terbang miliknya sendiri bernilai RM1.6 bilion di luar Kuala Lumpur, kerana LCCT sekarang sudah terlalu sesak.

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apu

new in malaysia is hairwired…the amount of the new airport can also be given wrongly…1 says 460mil the other says 1.6 BILLION…then 1 says the current 1 is bulit with 29.2 Mil where as the other 1 reports that it is built with the amount of RM 100MIL…hmmm…i could b wrong…hehehe :mrgreen: just my 2 cents…