Malaysia Airports has embarked on the replacement of its Automated People Mover (APM), known as the Aerotrain system.

The current Aerotrains have been in service since Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) opened 23 years ago, shuttling more than 300 million passengers between the satellite and main terminal buildings. Over recent years, however, the ageing system has faced frequent service disruption.

Malaysia Airports managing director Dato’ Iskandar Mizal Mahmood described the existing Aerotrains as approaching their end-of-life stage and in need of an upgrade. He said, “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 undertook a robust competitive tender process that placed priority on meeting business objectives, as well as the project’s technical and performance requirements. The tender was preceded by three feasibility studies, and a series of stakeholder engagements with the Ministry of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, Malaysian Aviation Commission and Land Public Transport Agency.

The new Aerotrain system will offer improvements in terms of safety, comfort, appearance, energy consumption and diagnostics, among other things. It will also provide flexibility for seamless connections for future terminals.

The new APM project has been awarded to Pestech Technology Sdn Bhd (Pestech), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pestech International Berhad. Work will start in March 2022 and is expected to take three years to complete. The project encompasses both the replacement of the Aerotrain system and its maintenance for the ten years to 2034.

Pestech will work with Bombardier Transportation, which was recently acquired by French multinational rolling stock manufacturer Alstom.