Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)

Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Introduction

Kuala Lumpur International Airport is Malaysia's main international airport and one of the major airports in South East Asia.

Built at a cost of US$3.5 billion in Sepang district of Selangor, it is located approximately 45 kilometres (28 mi) south of Kuala Lumpur city centre and serves the Greater Klang Valley conurbation.

KLIA is the largest and busiest airport in Malaysia. In 2016, it handled 52,643,511 passengers and 642,558 tonnes of cargo. It is the world's 24th-busiest airport by total passenger traffic.

Over 50 airlines call at KLIA and it is the hub for Malaysia Airlines and the low cost carrier Air Asia.

Due to the highly competitive prices of these two carriers you will find surprisingly few well-known world carriers serving this airport, although there are carriers from many Islamic countries around the world. An additional reason for the lack of carriers is the relatively close proximity of Singapore Changi Airport.

Airlines & Destinations

AirlinesDestinations
Air AstanaAlmaty
Air ChinaBeijing–Capital
Air MauritiusMauritius
AirAsiaAlor Setar, Banda Aceh, Bandar Seri Begawan, Bandung, Bangalore, Bangkok–Don Mueang, Bhubaneswar, Bintulu, Changsha, Chennai, Chiang Mai, Colombo, Da Nang, Davao (begins 21 December 2017), Denpasar/Bali, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hanoi, Hat Yai, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Johor Bahru, Kalibo, Kaohsiung, Kochi, Kolkata, Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu, Krabi, Kuala Terengganu, Kuching, Kunming, Labuan, Langkawi, Lombok, Luang Prabang, Macau, Makassar, Malé, Manila, Medan, Miri, Nanning, Nha Trang (begins 14 September 2017), Padang, Palembang, Pattaya, Pekanbaru, Penang, Phnom Penh, Phuket, Pontianak, Sandakan, Semarang, Shantou, Shenzhen, Sibu, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville (begins 9 August 2017), Singapore, Surabaya, Solo, Surat Thani, Tawau, Tiruchirapalli, Vientiane, Visakhapatnam, Yangon, Yogyakarta
AirAsia XAuckland, Beijing–Capital, Busan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Delhi, Denpasar/Bali, Gold Coast, Hangzhou, Honolulu, Jeddah, Kathmandu, Medina, Melbourne, Osaka–Kansai, Perth, Sapporo–Chitose, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Sydney, Taipei–Taoyuan, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tokyo–Haneda, Wuhan, Xi'an
All Nippon AirwaysTokyo–Haneda, Tokyo–Narita
Bangkok AirwaysKoh Samui
Batik AirChennai, Denpasar/Bali, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta
Biman Bangladesh AirlinesDhaka
British AirwaysLondon–Heathrow
Cathay DragonHong Kong
Cebu PacificManila
China AirlinesTaipei–Taoyuan
China Eastern Airlines
operated by Shanghai AirlinesShanghai–Pudong
China Southern AirlinesChangsha, Guangzhou
EmiratesDubai–International
Ethiopian AirlinesAddis Ababa, Singapore
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi
EVA AirTaipei–Taoyuan
FlynasSeasonal: Jeddah
Garuda IndonesiaJakarta–Soekarno–Hatta
Himalaya AirlinesKathmandu
Indonesia AirAsiaBandung, Denpasar/Bali, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Lombok, Medan, Pekanbaru, Surabaya, Yogyakarta
Indonesia AirAsia XDenpasar/Bali, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Mumbai, Surabaya
Iraqi AirwaysBaghdad
Japan AirlinesTokyo–Narita
JC International AirlinesPhnom Penh, Sihanoukville
Jetstar Asia AirwaysSingapore
KLMAmsterdam, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta
Korean AirSeoul–Incheon
Lion AirJakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Medan, Surabaya
Lucky AirKunming
Mahan AirTehran–Imam Khomeini
Malaysia AirlinesAdelaide, Alor Setar, Auckland, Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Bandar Seri Begawan, Beijing–Capital, Bintulu, Chennai, Colombo, Darwin (ends 28 July 2017), Delhi, Denpasar/Bali, Dhaka, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Haikou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Jeddah, Johor Bahru, Kathmandu, Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Kuching, Labuan, Langkawi, London–Heathrow, Manila, Medan, Melbourne, Miri, Mumbai, Nanjing, Osaka–Kansai, Penang, Perth, Phnom Penh, Phuket, Sandakan, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Sibu, Siem Reap, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei–Taoyuan, Tawau, Tokyo–Narita, Wuhan, Xiamen, Yangon
Seasonal: Medina
Malindo AirAmritsar, Bangkok–Don Mueang, Bandung, Brisbane, Chittagong, Colombo, Delhi, Denpasar/Bali, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Guiyang, Haikou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Jeddah, Kathmandu, Kochi, Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Lahore, Langkawi, Medan, Mumbai, Penang, Perth, Phnom Penh (begins 1 August 2017), Phuket, Sanya, Singapore, Taipei–Taoyuan, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirapalli, Wuhan, Yangon
Seasonal: Christmas Island
Myanmar Airways InternationalYangon
Nepal AirlinesKathmandu
Oman AirMuscat
Pakistan International AirlinesIslamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar
Philippine AirlinesManila
Philippines AirAsiaCebu, Manila
Qatar AirwaysDoha
Regent AirwaysDhaka
Royal Brunei AirlinesBandar Seri Begawan
Royal JordanianAmman–Queen Alia, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
SaudiaJeddah, Riyadh, Medina
Shenzhen AirlinesShenzhen
SilkAirSingapore
Singapore AirlinesSingapore
SriLankan AirlinesColombo
Thai AirAsiaBangkok–Don Mueang, Hat Yai
Thai AirwaysBangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Thai SmileBangkok–Suvarnabhumi
TigerairSingapore
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul–Atatürk
US-Bangla AirlinesDhaka
Uzbekistan AirwaysSingapore, Tashkent
VietJet AirHo Chi Minh City
Vietnam AirlinesHanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
XiamenAirFuzhou, Xiamen

Transportation

KLIA has excellent connections to Kuala Lumpur. It's possible to land and get to Sentral Station in the city within 28 minutes with MYR55 KLIA Ekspres. You can then quickly get a taxi to your specific destination in the city.

By train

  • KLIA Trains link the Main Terminal and KLIA2 to KL Sentral, the main transportation hub in Kuala Lumpur. Non-stop KLIA Ekspres trains (RM55 one way) take 28/33min from KLIA/KLIA2 and run every 20min or 15min during peak hours (05:00-09:00 and 16:00-21:00). KLIA Transit trains (also RM55 one way) take 36/38min and stop at Salak Tinggi, Putrajaya, and Bandar Tasik Selatan en route. Transit and Ekspres tickets are not interchangeable and the trains leave from different parts of both the airport and KL Sentral, so make sure that you do not confuse them. From the airport, the first train (an express) leaves at 05.00; the last (a transit) leaves at 01.03. From KL Sentral, the first train (a transit) leaves at 04.33; the last (also a transit) is at 01.03. It may not be possible to purchase a ticket late at night, however you can just get on the train and buy the ticket when you arrive at KL Sentral.
  • The KTM Komuter station Nilai (1h, RM5 from KL) has frequent connecting buses to KLIA operated by Airport Coach and Sepang Omnibus (1.5h, RM3.50). This is the cheapest option to the main terminal but takes much longer than the direct train or bus (allow 3hr for the whole journey).

By bus

Main Terminal

  • Airport Coach runs an express bus between KL Sentral and KLIA. Every half hour 05:00-23:00 from Sentral, and 05:30-00:30 from KLIA. RM11 one way, or RM18 return. The travel time is approximately 1 hour.
  • Star Shuttle bus runs from KLIA to Kota Raya and Pudu Raya (both are near the Chinatown), RM12.50 one way.
  • Sepang Omnibus runs local bus services directly to Seremban in Negeri Sembilan, Banting in Selangor and Sepang town where you can get connecting buses to/from Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan. The buses may be a little basic and uncomfortable, and do not follow a timetable (at least, not one that is publicly known).

KLIA2

Several bus operators run services to KL and other cities from KLIA2 Level 1,

  • SkyBus and Aerobus run direct services (RM11, children RM5) every half hour or so to and from KL Sentral. SkyBus can be pre-booked with an AirAsia ticket during the initial flight booking for RM7.20 one way - but beware, that if you miss your flight or change your mind and decide not to travel it, the SkyBus fare, as well as other additional services on that booking, will not be refunded.
  • Star Shuttle (Tel: +60 3404 38811) has direct buses (RM10)

to the Pekeliling Bus Terminal, Chinatown in central KL, Batu 3 (3rd Mile) Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur and also direct connections to the Ipoh Teluk Bintan at Bidoh and Setiawan. They also serve direct line to several hotels in the city.

By taxi

Taxis at the main terminal operate under a two-tiered system with the choice of coupon-based Airport Limo taxis or the meter-based standard city taxis. If travelling with a party of 3 or 4 people taking a taxi can be a cost effective option over the airport rail link, but is not as fast.

  • City taxis depart from level 1 outside the main terminal. Look around for signs saying Teksi Bandar or City Taxi. Before catching a city taxi you must first purchase a RM2 coupon (per taxi) and then join the queue. When entering the taxi you will be given a slip to keep and are charged according to the meter, usually costing around RM55-60 to KL Sentral. Keep hold of the slip in case of any complaints, particularly overcharging, as it can be used to trace the offending taxi driver.
  • Airport Limo taxis depart from level 3 of the main terminal and operate budgetand premier taxi options. Insist on a budget taxi (RM74.30 to Kuala Lumpur), as the misnamed "premier" cars (RM100) are no better in quality. To purchase a coupon heard to the Airport Limo counters just before you exit the international arrivals gate, or outside the domestic arrivals gate.

While touting is no longer a common occurrence at the main terminal keep in mind that you should avoid taxi drivers that hang around the terminal away from the designated areas mentioned above or approach you asking where you want to go. In most cases they will inflate the price and say that other transport options are not available.

Heading to KLIA by taxi can be a bit of a challenge at times as drivers are reluctant to use the meter. If you fail to get them to use the meter, make sure you agree on a price before setting off (this should cost no more than RM70-80 in total). Airport Limo operates from Kuala Lumpur to KLIA by bookings only at a rate of RM64.40 for a budget car.

By road

If you have your own wheels, KLIA is well connected to Peninsular Malaysia's expressway network. The airport is directly linked with the North South Expressway Central Link (known by its Malay abbreviation "Elite") about 70km or nearly 1h away from Kuala Lumpur city centre. Exit the expressway at KLIA interchange for both the Main Terminal and KLIA2.


Get around

KLIA is a large, expanding airport. If you are only concerned with the main terminal (KLIA 1), then getting around is straightforward, with air-side being split into two buildings connected by a free, fast shuttle train.

To transfer between KLIA and KLIA 2, take the KLIA Ekspres or Transit train. The journey takes 3 minutes and costs RM2. You may find the airport map here.

Terminals

The Passenger Terminal Complex (PTC) was built with an emphasis on allowing natural light into the building. Thus, there is a huge expanse of glass throughout the building, and the spectacular roof has cut-outs for natural light to filter in. The PTC comprises three buildings – the Main Terminal Building, the Satellite Building and the Contact Pier. Besides the 80-room hotel at the Satellite Building, there is a 422-room 5-star Sama-Sama Hotel KLIA, a five-minute (indoor) walk away. Shopping spots are available in an area encompassing 85,000 square metres. Currently, the retail space at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport stands at 67,000 square metres (720,000 sq ft). The airport operator plans to increase the retail space to 105,300 square metres (1,133,000 sq ft), a 62.2% increase in retail space.

Being an international airport, all terminals are equipped with immigration processing facilities and security scanning for all passengers, including domestic passengers. The Satellite terminal handles most of the international flights, while the main terminal building's contact pier handles domestic traffic, regional international flights and international flights routed to other hubs within Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines operates from both terminals, and the main terminal building's contact pier is their preferred terminal for domestic flights. Conversely, low cost carriers such as Tigerair, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia group of airlines operate domestic and international flights out of klia2, the low-cost carrier terminal at KLIA.

The initial passenger growth was below average due to Asian Financial Crisis and the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003 and the airport failed to reach its target capacity of 25 million passengers per annum (before the inclusion of low cost carrier terminal) by 2004. However, the recovery of Malaysia's economy boosted Kuala Lumpur International Airport's passenger movements, and the airport saw significant growth in traffic, hitting the 25 million passenger mark in 2007. In 2013, the airport saw a monumental increase in passenger traffic to 47 million passengers.


Main terminal building and contact pier

The KLIA Main Terminal Building (MTB) is located in between the two runways. The floor area of the terminal covers 390,000 m2(4,200,000 sq ft) and the building consists of 39 square roof units, which enables future expansion of the building. There are a total of 216 check-in counters, located in 6 different islands, identified by the letters A – M (excluding I). Multi check-in services are available, designed for the use of all passengers arriving, departing or in transit. On 2 February 2007, Malaysia Airports introduces 12 integrated self check-in kiosks (CUSS) for passengers. The first airline to use the system is KLM. A further 24 kiosks will be added later by the airport operator

The contact pier is the rectangular-shaped terminal that is connected to the KLIA Main Terminal Building (MTB). It serves as the domestic terminal for Malaysia Airlines. Some international flights are handled there as well. Previously it used to service low-cost carriers. The north side of the pier can only accommodate narrow-bodied aircraft. The south side of the contact pier can accommodate the Boeing 737, Airbus A320 and other similar sized aircraft.

The gates in Main Terminal Building's contact pier has alphabet prefix of A and B for domestic flights, which is accessible from domestic departures on Level 3 where passengers descend after security check, and G and H for international flights. Gates G & H are sharing the same boarding lounge as Gates A & B, where after boarding and secondary security check (before boarding aircraft) passengers descend into the same boarding lounge with the doors for "A & B" on level 3 sealed off for international flights. For domestic flights, the stairs to access "G & H" are sealed off instead.

Currently there's only Malaysia Airlines using the main terminal for short-haul and medium-haul flights. Malaysian hybrid airline Malindo Air will be moving all flight operations (except ATR 72-600s, which will still stay in Subang International Airport) to Kuala Lumpur International Airport's main terminal.


Satellite terminal A

The 176,000 square metres (1,890,000 sq ft) satellite building accommodates international flights departing and arriving at KLIA. Passengers have to travel to the satellite building via the Aerotrain. There is a wide array of duty-free shops and prestige brand boutiques in the satellite building. This includes international brands such as Burberry, Harrods, Montblanc, Salvatore Ferragamo. Among all international labels available within the terminal, some boutiques such as Harrods are only available in the airport. A number of restaurants and international airlines' lounges are available as well as an Airside Transit Hotel.

Within the terminal, wireless internet (Wi-Fi) is provided free of charge. The terminal also has prayer rooms, showers and massage service. Various lounge areas are provided, some including children's play areas and movie lounge, broadcasting movie and sport channels. The terminal also features a natural rainforest in the middle of the terminal, exhibiting the Malaysian rainforests.

Under Malaysia Airports Berhad retail optimisation plan, the retail space in satellite terminal A will be further optimised to increase its revenue derived from commercial space rental and a percentage of sale receipts to 50% by year 2010 which currently stands at 35%. Some notable improvements that will be seen after the refurbishments will be the Jungle Boardwalk which will be the first of its kind in the world and larger mezzanine floor to accommodate F&B outlets and viewing galleries. 

The gates in Satellite Terminal A have the prefix C.The Satellite A terminal has 27 boarding gates altogether.


klia2 

klia2 is the low-cost carrier terminal at KLIA. The terminal is located 2 kilometres away from the Main Terminal Building (MTB). klia2 is built to cater for the explosive growth in low cost travel in the region and has replaced the former Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). klia2 started operations on 2 May 2014 and all flight operations at LCCT were moved to klia2 by 9 May 2014. 

Built at a cost of approximately RM4 billion (US$1.3 billion), klia2 is the world's largest purpose-built terminal dedicated to low-cost carriers and is designed to cater for 45 million passengers a year with future capacity expansion capability. The terminal is served by a dedicated 4 km runway (KLIA's Runway 3) and a 141.3m air traffic control (ATC) tower, making it the world's tallest ATC tower.

The terminal has a built-up area of 257,845 sqm with 68 departure gates, 10 remote stands, 80 aerobridges, includes a retail space of 35,000 sqm to accommodate a total of 220 retail outlets. The main terminal building of klia2 is connected with its satellite piers with a skybridge, making it the first airport in Asia with such facility. klia2 is certified with Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED).

Check-in counters are divided into 8 rows located in 4 islands, each row identified by the letters S – Z. Boarding gates are located in 5 piers, indicated by the letters J and K for domestic flights, and LP and Q for international flights. Piers J, K and L are connected directly to the main terminal building, while Piers P and Q are accessible via the skybridge. Piers K and L are physically the same pier and share the same gates, but with waiting lounges on different levels (Level 1A for K and Level 2 for L). For international flights, the access door from Pier K is sealed off, while for domestic flights, the access door from Pier L is sealed off instead.

At present, inter-terminal connection is provided on the landside at [email protected] complex and there are provisions for future airside inter-terminal connection.

[email protected]

[email protected] is an integrated complex that is connected to the main klia2 terminal building. It has a 350,000 square feet of net lettable space spanning over 4 levels, offering a fresh airport-within-a-mall concept. The transport hub at [email protected] links klia2 to the Express Rail Link (ERL) (also known as KLIA Ekspres), with allotted pick-up and drop-off areas for coaches, taxis, rented vehicles and private transportation.

[email protected] hosts an 8-storey car park that directly adjoins klia2. There are 6,000 covered parking lots at Blocks A and B and another 5,500 lots at car park D. Shuttle buses are available to take the public from the car park D to the terminal. The first capsule transit hotel in Asia named as the Capsule by Container Hotel is also located at [email protected] [email protected] is managed by WCT Holdings Berhad.


KL City Air Terminal 

KL City Air Terminal, sometimes known as Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal or KL CATlocated at KL Sentral is a virtual extension of KL International Airport where city check-in services are provided. KL City Air Terminal is recognised by International Air Transport Association which carries IATA designation XKL. Currently there are only 3 airlines providing city check-in services, they are Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlinesand Malindo Airways. However, the situation is due to be changed as 10 SITA's AirportConnect CUTE (Common Use Terminal Equipment) were installed on 10 check-in desks in KL CAT that enables all airlines to offer city check-in service for their passengers. 


Low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) closed 

The 36,000 square metres (390,000 sq ft) Low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) was opened at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 23 March 2006 to cater for the growing number of users of low cost airlines, especially the passengers of Malaysia's "no-frills" airline, AirAsia. The terminal was designed and built in accordance to the low cost carrier business model, with limited terminal amenities. As requested by the low cost airline, the terminal does not provide aerobridges, nor are there transfer facilities, rail connections, and other facilities provided in a full-fledged terminal.

The LCCT was located on the opposite side of the apron from the Main Terminal Building (MTB), with close proximity to the air cargo area. The terminal underwent expansion in 2008 to accommodate exponential growth of low cost travel. Following the opening of klia2, the new terminal built for low cost air-travel, the LCCT ceased operations on 9 May 2014 and all low-cost carrier flights are now operating out of klia2.

The AirAsia corporate head office was in the LCCT. The airline plans to move its head office to a new facility constructed at klia2 scheduled to open in the end of 2015. AirAsia X had its head office in the same facility.

Accommodation & Hotels

This lists only accommodation on airport grounds; for nearby hotels that require a shuttle bus, see Sepang. Taking the KLIA Ekspres to town and staying near KL Sentral is also a viable alternative, especially if you're staying overnight and have the time to explore a bit.


Budget

  • Tune Hotel KLIA2200m from KLIA2, accessible via covered walkway. Owned by Air Asia so expect low prices, young smiling staff, clean rooms, great bed and extra charges for even minor luxuries (air-con, thick towel, breakfast). Prices, as with Air Asia itself, vary depending on when you book. Can be as low as RM10 but usual price for late bookings are around RM70 for single bed.


Splurge

  • Sama Sama Hotel (formerly Pan Pacific), Jalan CTA 4B, KLIA, Sepang,  +60 3 8787 3333fax+60 3 8787 5555, e-mail: Large hotel located just next to the main terminal building and connected by a sky bridge. Pricy, but the best option in the immediate vicinity by a long shot.Starting RM670.


  • Sama Sama Express HotelMezzanine Level, Satellite Building, KLIA, Sepang+60 3 8787 4848, e-mail: Located air-side in the satellite building of the main terminal, you can sleep without having to actually enter Malaysia. Very useful if you have a long stopover. Additionally they offer shower services for RM30 if you are not sleeping there.RM250 (6h) - RM500 (12h).

Coffee & Restaurants

There are quite a few restaurants and cafes in the satellite terminal building. In the main terminal there isn't a great deal.

  • Old Town White CoffeeMain terminal air-sideA chain of Malaysian style food. Note that the Malaysian coffee is served sweet. RM10-20.
  • McDonaldsConcession 18B, Level 5 (Departure Level), MTB, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, 43909 Sepang+60 3 8787 385224hLocated just before immigration, this special McDonalds outlet has extra menu choices and a larger range of foods to choose from. It is strategically located at the last point at which non-passengers can access. Around RM9.

Shopping

KLIA has a lot of shops for western products, and not much for local goods.

  • HarrodsA small version of the London department store next to immigration. Small cafe.

Internet, Comunication

There is free (if somewhat unreliable) Wi-Fi named [email protected] throughout the airport.

Things to know


Prayer

  • Muslim Prayer Room: There are many prayer rooms (Surau) for Muslims throughout the airport. In the main terminal every floor has such a prayer room, as well as one close to gates B2-B10, in the satellite building near to gates C11-17 and another near gates C21-C27.
  • Silent Room: This room is provided for meditation for members of any faith. Level 5 in the departure hall in the Main Terminal Building.

Smoking

It is very hard to smoke at all at the airport, even outside the terminal entrance doors. There are smoking rooms available near gates B2, C11 and C31.


Wait

The main terminal is well designed with facilities for long waits. Alternatively, the centre of Kuala Lumpur is very accessible if you have a few hours to spare.

There is a piece of Malaysian jungle in the middle of the satellite terminal building. You can have a walk around on its boardwalk.

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