Since the mid 1960s, Subang International Airport has served the air travel demands for this region and acted as the major international gateway for Peninsular Malaysia. However, Subang Airport could not cope with the rapid increase of air travel and studies concluded that it could not be readily expanded. Hence the need for a new airport.
In 1991, government officials undertook site selection studies. After much consideration and evaluation, Sepang was chosen as it met all aeronautical requirements, had sufficient land for expansion, and was within 30 minutes of traveling time from KL. Besides, the acquisition of the land did not pose as a problem since the greenfield site comprised primarily of ex-oil palm plantations and a small orang asli (aboriginal) population of 85, who were relocated to another place.
With the objective of making KLIA as an efficient, competitive, and aesthetically attractive airport, KLIA was to be developed in three phases. The first phase has begun since September 1998 and is capable of handling 25 million passengers and one million tons of cargo a year.
Some of the other features include fully automated and mechanical handling systems like moving walkways, automated baggage handling systems, baggage reconciliation systems, flight information displays and a tracked transit system. The airport is also designed to ensure reduced walking distance and transfer time for passengers.
The terminal and satellite buildings have been planned to offer the very best facilities to KLIA's users. The main terminal building (MTB) has simple and clear routes taking passengers quickly through the check-in and control processes to the main lounge where passengers will be able to relax amid a wide range of retail and catering facilities. The MTB is surrounded by landscaping zones through which various departures and arrival routes pass, thus creating the effect of an airport in the "forest".
Access to KLIA is swift. There are two principal road accesses. The first is via a short spur off the North-South Expressway. The second will link the airport to the existing Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway. There will also be an Express Rail Link from the heart of KL where there is to be a City Air Terminal (CAT) to the main airport terminal, thus ensuring a fast and comfortable journey to and from the city center without the hassle or traffic jams!!!
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