Frost & Sullivan: No urgent need for more airport terminals

PETALING JAYA: There is no urgent need for additional terminals in Malaysian airports, said Frost & Sullivan (Australia) Pty Ltd associate director Amartya De.

This is due to the optimisation of operations in line with the digital transformation of airports.

Speaking at the Frost & Sullivan Aerospace and Defence Outlook briefing for Asia Pacific: The Future of Airports – Vision 2030, Amartya estimated that digitisation efforts are able to lower capacity constraints of airports by about 30%.

“This will buy another three to five years before needing to expand capacity.

“Efficiency is the important determinant in an airport’s operations, not the number of terminals.

“While an expansion may be required, we believe improvements or efficiencies in operations is a better alternative instead of building new terminals, which is a huge cost on the government and airport operators,” said Amartya.

According to data from the Malaysian Aviation Commission and Frost & Sullivan analysis, eight airports in Malaysia are handling passengers beyond their designed capacity presently.

These airports are Subang, Langkawi, Lahad Datu, Kota Baru, Mulu, Miri, Penang and the KL International Airport.

Passenger traffic in Malaysia has already crossed the 100-million mark this year.

Assuming a straight line growth trajectory, Frost & Sullivan expects passenger traffic in Malaysia to surpass 250 million by 2030.

“Passenger movement across Asia is growing very fast and Malaysia is seeing a growth of 6% to 8% yearly.

“Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd , as an operator, will be increasingly looking at digitising its operations and improving operational efficiency.

“Also, the digital transformation will reduce operational costs, make journeys more convenient, and reduce redundancies,” said Amartya.

He said passengers are the driving force to a digital transformation in the aviation industry, and there does not seem to be any regulatory barriers in Malaysia for the digital revolution of airports.

Currently, the airport digital evolution is at Airport 2.0, with leading airports beginning to transition from data enlightenment to a data-driven strategy.

The data-driven strategy entails 4G LTE, cloud-based integrated systems and agile infrastructure, big data as well as data-driven support and decision-making.

Come 2030, airports will have to be smarter and be equipped with features such as digital management of energy and waste, automated intelligent buildings, intelligent passenger tracking, seamless connectivity, predictive retailing, predictive security and smart operation planning.