114 passengers left walking in the rain after 2 KLIA Aerotrains break down in a row, airport suspends their use

Launched in 1998, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport is easily the most recognisable point of entry for both Malaysians as well as international tourists alike. Spanning 100 square kilometres, it continues to remain as one of the world’s largest airport sites in the world. And as one can imagine, this makes getting around between terminals quite a hassle, especially if you’re in a rush to catch your flight.

Given that fact, the airport is connected by its very own transport infrastructure, dubbed ‘Aerotrains’, to help transport commuters from different parts of the airport at a relatively rapid pace. With three carriages per train, each ‘Aerotrain’ is capable of ferrying up to 250 passengers at any time.

2 KLIA Aerotrains break down in a row, leaving 114 passengers to walk on tracks

Unfortunately, as many as 114 passengers who were riding one of the airport’s ‘Aerotrains’ found the service to be less stellar than initially advertised, after their train unexpectedly suffered a breakdown. As reported by local news agency Astro Awani, the incident was said to have taken place on March 1st, 2023 at around 3.00pm.

At the time, one of the ‘Aerotrains’ in operation had come to a sudden halt in the middle of the track. While a separate train was promptly dispatched to retrieve the passengers in the first downed train, it would eventually also suffer from technical failures, effectively leaving those on-board stranded.

In a video clip that was uploaded by local netizen @khalidkarim, passengers believed to be from the inoperable ‘Aerotrains’ were later forced to walk back to the Satellite terminal 400 metres away, assisted by what appear to be KLIA staff members who ferried them under bright orange umbrellas. 

Service will be suspended until further notice

Managing Director of Malaysia Airport Holding Bhd (MAHB) Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood has since announced that the use of the ‘Aerotrain’ service will temporarily be suspended until further notice for safety reasons.

“Following the suspension of ‘Aerotrain’ operations, a total of 18 buses will be provided for the convenience of passengers,”

“The buses will operate around the clock to collect and drop-off passengers between their departure gates and the Satellite Terminal,” he adds.

Iskandar also pointed out that this was the second recorded breakdown of the ‘Aerotrain’ service since it was initially deployed for public use 25 years ago. As for the affected passengers, the airport has compensated them with accommodation and replacement tickets for flights that they have missed due to the breakdown.

Two KLIA Aerotrains broke down in a row, leading to the service's temporary suspension. Image credit: KLIA
Two KLIA Aerotrains broke down in a row, leading to the service’s temporary suspension. Image credit: KLIA

According to NST, the ‘Aerotrain’ is due to be replaced through an extensive update program that will be scheduled to complete in 2025, at the cost of RM700 million.

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Also read: Anthony Loke: KLIA and klia2 will be rebranded to KLIA Terminal 1 and KLIA Terminal 2 respectively

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