Budget Boom

SEPANG, May 2, 2014 (AFP) – Malaysia on Friday officially opened a new airport built specifically for the fast-growing budget-travel sector, but with the country’s aviation industry under deep scrutiny over the loss of missing flight MH370. The still-unexplained March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which took off from the main KLIA, has raised worldwide concern over Malaysian aviation and focused attention on problems at KLIA2.

The airport opens three years after originally planned due to repeated delays caused by concerns over safety and subpar construction, as its cost doubled to $1.2 billion.

AirAsia, which has complained loudly over the delays, said problems include depressions on runways and taxiways.

Authorities have acknowledged KLIA2 is on unstable ground that will require years of upkeep.

However, Malaysia said last week the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had inspected the facility and given its blessing.

The much-delayed new facility near the main Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) officially commenced operations at 12:05 am (1605 GMT) when a flight by Malaysia-based Malindo Air touched down.

Dubbed “KLIA2”, authorities say the facility is the world’s larg