Sepang – Malaysia Airports has embarked on the replacement exercise of its Automated People Mover (APM), also known as the Aerotrain system. The current Aerotrains have been in service shuttling more than 300 million passengers between the satellite and main terminal buildings since the airport opened 23 years ago. Over the past few years, the ageing Aerotrain system frequently faced service disruption, contributing to operational inefficiency. This has caused inconvenience to the passengers who must use the alternative busing service instead. These problems will soon go away as three years from now, international passengers travelling through KL International Airport (KLIA) will get to ride in brand spanking new Aerotrains.
Malaysia Airports Managing Director, Dato’ Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said the current Aerotrains are approaching their end-of-life stage and need to be upgraded so that passengers can be better served, “It is no longer feasible to maintain the current Aerotrains. Old assets are more prone to break down and this will inconvenience passengers. They are also running on old technology, making it difficult to get parts. The new Aerotrains will be upgraded together with the track system infrastructure, and this will also provide the airport with better operational efficiency.”
“No doubt there will be some inconvenience to passengers in the next three years during the upgrade period. While we will endeavour to minimise the disruption of service, passengers will continue to be shuttled using the airside bus service which has been running well as an alternative service since 2017,” he added.
Malaysia Airports had undergone a robust competitive tender process which started in August 2020, that placed priority on meeting its business objectives, as well as the project’s technical and performance requirements. The tender was also preceded by three feasibility studies to determine the requirements, and a series of stakeholder engagements with the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) to gather the necessary feedback.
The new Aerotrains will be improved in terms of safety, comfort, appearance, energy consumption and diagnostics, among others. It will also offer flexibility for seamless connections for new terminals in the future.
The new APM project that has been awarded to Pestech Technology Sdn Bhd (Pestech), a wholly-owned subsidiary of public listed Pestech International Berhad, will start works in March 2022 and take three years to complete. The project encompasses the replacement of the Aerotrain system as well as its maintenance for ten years until 2034. Pestech will be working with a reputable OEM - Bombardier Transportation - recently acquired by Alstom, a French multinational rolling stock manufacturer operating worldwide in rail transport markets and active in the fields of passenger transportation, signaling and locomotives.
Meanwhile, in 2020, Malaysia Airports had also appointed the US-based consultancy firm Jacobs Engineering Group (Jacobs), to provide project management consultancy services from the development of detailed design stage to the project completion, using the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) approach. Jacobs is an international professional services firm that provides technical, professional and construction services. In Malaysia, Jacobs has been involved in almost all of the major rail and transit projects including the Ampang Line, Kelana Jaya Line, Putrajaya Line and most recently the JB-Singapore RTS Link.