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KLIA's reputation put to test

  • Even though KLIA's operation was back to normal on Saturday, the damage has already been done!

Sin Chew Daily

The utter chaos resulting from KLIA's Total Airport Management System (TAMS) disruption which started last Wednesday night and lasted for four days, has tremendously inconvenienced the passengers and caused airline companies to suffer massive losses.

Even though the airport's operation was back to normal on Saturday, the damage has already been done!

As the major gateway and an aviation hub to the country, such a major system disruption at KLIA should serve as a dear lesson for the airport management company, MAVCOM, as well as the transport ministry to ensure similar incidents will not happen again in future.

The transport ministry has set up a committee to investigate the incident. In addition to identifying the root causes, the committee must also propose ways to improve the airport's operations in a bid to restore eroded public confidence.

This incident has something to do with the outdated systems still running at the airport although we cannot rule out the possibility of human factor.

It has been reported that the airport management company's IT department has lodged a police report on possible sabotage. If the allegation is subsequently proven true, it is a very serious crime, as the culprits have not only plunged the airport into complete chaos as a result of malfunctioning control system, severe damage has also been done to the country's international image.

No doubt Malaysia Airports is under tremendous pressure because of this incident, including the company's tarnished image and reputation as well as administrative and financial losses it had to bear during the period of system disruption. As if that is not enough, the company may also need to settle huge sums of compensation for airline companies.

The airport management company must produce powerful evidences to help the police solve the case as soon as possible so that its own image and reputation can be salvaged.

Nonetheless, the company must also review the shortcomings in its existing operations, including the poor administrative efficiency and outdated equipment.

As a matter of fact, similar computer systems have a very short service life and need to be constantly upgraded to ensure their smooth and seamless operation.

Unfortunately, the board of Malaysia Airports has over and again rejected the proposal to upgrade its systems. In the end, the cost of fixing the faults comes much higher than the regular maintenance cost.

It was the government's farsightedness to decide on the construction of a brand new airport back in those years, with the hope the new airport could help boost the country's economy as well as aviation and tourism industries. The latest glitches happened barely weeks after the airport celebrated its 21st anniversary.

To be honest, KLIA and other airports run by Malaysia Airports have received countless of complaints from passengers as well as other relevant operators about their antiquated facilities and systems. However, given the company's management hierarchy, the decision-making process is often a time-consuming one while remedial actions take much longer or are simply dismissed.

The country will usher in Visit Malaysia 2020 next year. As a public listed company, Malaysia Airports must prove its own worth. MAVCOM also has a pivotal role to play in overseeing and ensuring the smooth operation of our airports, while the transport ministry must undertake an in-depth study and come up with a more comprehensive set of airport operation guidelines to lift the operational standards of our airports.

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