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Malaysia Budget Terminal transforms from bustling hub to empty shell

The Star/ANN | Saturday, May 10, 2014

SEPANG - A week ago, the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) was one of the most heavily-frequented airports in the region, serving 22 million passengers a year.

Yesterday, it was nearly an empty shell.

Upon arrival at LCCT at 9.30am yesterday, The Star noticed that the airport was in a state of winding-down, with all eateries closed, while tables and chairs were locked up and stacked for removal.

Some litter was visible on the sidewalks, with no cleaners in sight.

Some fast food chains had the back doors to their kitchens wide open, with nothing left inside except for large equipment too heavy to be easily moved. Workers were busy transporting equipment away, but AirAsia staff will still be around the place for quite a while.

"Our office is still here. The KLIA2 office is not finished yet," said an employee who declined to be named when approached.

According to him, only the budget carrier's operations moved to KLIA2, claiming that even AirAsia's staff cafeteria was still inside the LCCT building.

A few Malaysian Airports Hold­ings Berhad (MAHB) staff were seen patrolling the area, and barred reporters present from going deeper into the terminal's inner sections.

Despite the airport's closure at 3am yesterday, a few passengers still unknowingly arrived here to catch their flights.

An Uzbek student who wanted to be known only as Sardor, 18, arrived with his family here to catch a 12.30pm flight to Langkawi.

"I didn't know it was all closed," he said before rushing into a friend's car to go to KLIA2.

An Indonesian who wanted to remain anonymous said he wanted to catch a 1pm flight to Makassar, Sulawesi in Indonesia.

"I didn't know they moved," he said, seconds before he jumped into his friend's car for KLIA2.

MAHB senior general manager for operation services, Datuk Azmi Murad, told The Star that reporters were not allowed inside LCCT as MAHB was "busy settling in".

He added the media may be invited to have a view of the closed airport in the future.

AirAsia's last flight out of LCCT bound for Kolkata was at 10.30pm Thursday, while AirAsiaX's last flight left for Jeddah at 2.30am yesterday.

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