Thursday, March 15, 2007

KLIA ‘Hit’ by Lightning

PETALING JAYA: After emerging as one of the big winners for quality service among international airports on Monday, the KL International Airport came to a halt for about an hour due to a power failure.

The “nice feeling” of being among the world's best was replaced by an air of gloom at the KLIA when a lightning bolt struck a power sub-station in nearby Salak Tinggi.

“The blackout resulted in a lot of confusion as the luggage carousels, tram services, elevators and escalators stopped,” said The Star reporter Ian McIntyre, who was at the arrival hall when the blackout occurred.

“I saw two loads of passengers who had to be ferried by bus to Customs as there was no aerotrain service,” he said.

”I also saw the airport police deployed for crowd control.”

However, the reporter was concerned that there did not seem to be a back-up system.

“I did wonder why there wasn't any back-up system that could have kicked in when the blackout happened,” he said, adding there were hundreds of people at the airport at the time.

On Monday, KLIA netted three awards in separate categories at the Airports Council International– Airport Services Quality Awards 2006 in Dubai.

It won in the Best Airport in the 15 million to 25 million passengers per annum category; third place in the regional Best Airport in Asia-Pacific category (behind Seoul's Incheon and Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airports); and third place in the Best Airport Worldwide category (behind the same two airports).

Eighty-one airports took part in the survey, which measured airport performance on service quality, facilities and passenger feedback.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Seri Bashir Ahmad had said then that it was an indication that KLIA emphasised on both service and infrastructure.

MAHB operations senior general manager Datuk Azmi Murad said yesterday's power supply disruption was due to a trip at a Tenaga Nasional sub-station in Salak Tinggi.

The trip caused the independent power supplier to KLIA to trip as well.

He claimed, however, that the outage lasted for only half an hour from 3.45pm.

“There was one aerotrain running and we provided buses to complement the aerotrain services.

“Since it wasn't a busy period, there weren't many passengers around,” he said.

He also stated that flight operations were not affected and that power supply was back to normal around 4.15pm.

Source : STAR
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