13 August 2019: KLIA marks milestone with a drive towards Airports 4.0 Digital Transformation Initiatives
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) saw in its 21st year of service in an event that was graced by Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as well as other dignitaries including Minister of Transport Loke Siew Fook, Chairman of Malaysia Airports Tan Sri Datuk Zainun Ali, and Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Malaysia Airports Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin.
The occasion, themed ‘KLIA Turns 21: A Precious Legacy’, commemorated the airport’s historical milestones, significant events, key successes and achievements since its opening in 1998. It also revealed Malaysia Airports’ plans to pursue service excellence through digitalisation initiatives that are part of the Airports 4.0 transformation journey. Among others, the airport launched its single token passenger journey initiative which is a whole new travelling experience powered by facial recognition, big data analytics and Internet of Thing (IoT).
In her speech, Tan Sri Zainun indicated that the implementation of the latest technologies will give Malaysia a competitive edge in attracting more airlines to operate from KUL, while continuous enhancement of facilities and service quality will ensure a seamless journey for passengers. She also highlighted the importance of inter-terminal connectivity in positioning the airport as a strong aviation hub and said, “KUL already has many inherent advantages such as its geographic location within a strong area of growth, its combined terminal capacity of 75 million passengers per year and three independent runways.
“Moving forward, we hope to be able to improve the connectivity at KUL by implementing the airside transfer between the two terminals. We recently signed a memorandum of business collaboration with POS Aviation, one of the ground handlers at the airport, to design and develop a virtual platform that will serve to facilitate airside transfers for self-connect passengers who travel through KUL.”
In his speech, Tun Dr Mahathir expressed his sentiments on the airport he himself envisioned during his first turn as Prime Minister decades ago. “I was proud then because it was the realisation of a dream and a promise. I am proud today because it is a reality. In the context of human birthdays, 21 would be deemed to be the coming of age, but for KLIA, it is a testament of its sustainability and relevance. It was indeed amazing to witness the palm oil estate morphing into an airport of such beauty and ability to become an icon.”
A demonstration of the single token passenger journey initiative through the Electronic Gate with Facial Recognition System by SITA and Gunnebo was performed at the event, revealing how the technology enhancement will give passengers a hassle-free journey as they will only need to verify their documents details once upon checking in. Malaysia Airports also indicated its intention to collaborate with Huawei to implement 5G network coverage at the airport.
Meanwhile, another highlight of the anniversary was Tun Dr Mahathir unveiling the new exhibition site for the original scale model of KLIA Main Terminal that was created 25 years ago by the Japanese firm Kisho Kurokawa Architect and Associates, spearheaded by the late renowned architect, Kisho Kurokawa. The scale model, which has been exhibited all over the world at various architectural and art exhibition museums and galleries, is a gift to Malaysia by the firm as a tribute to Tun Dr Mahathir for his foresight and vision in the development of KUL.
During the walkabout at the terminal, Tun Dr Mahathir tested the efficiency and accuracy of the new security body scanners that have been installed at KUL. The new scanners are able to detect both non-organic and organic foreign objects on the body. This means that passengers who have no such items on their body will no longer require manual security pat-downs. Currently ten units have been installed at both terminals in KUL and there will be 100 more installed in KUL by year 2022.