On Saturday, 12 April 2014, I had the opportunity to perform an Operational Readiness & Airport Transfer (ORAT) test at the new Kuala Lumpur Internal Airport 2 (KLIA 2). The owner of the airport, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), plans to officially launch the airport on May 2. Just like any project, prior to go-live, there will be a number of tests performed. For an airport, they perform an ORAT test to ensure all the processes and facilities at an airport is functioning well. How I would explain an ORAT to my IT friends is that an ORAT is similar to the Unit Acceptance Test (UAT) phase of a project.
There were a number of smaller ORATs performed previously. The one I participated on 12 April is planned for 4,000 participants including the public.
We arrived at KLIA 2 around 10AM. There were a lot of people there. A big chunk of the ORAT participants are National Service (NS) kids. I guess the easiest way to get people to test the airport on a weekend is to bring over those NS kids.
Upon registration the ORAT team gave me my mock passport and ticket. They said I can collect my mock baggage later in the Main Terminal Building. I got 2 ticket options to choose. One is international, going to New Delhi and back (including a transit). The other option was a local flight to Kota Bahru. The flight to New Delhi departs much later, so I decided to test the domestic flight process.
I had some time before my departure time, so I took the opportunity to check out the airports surroundings.
About 2 hours before my departure time, I grabbed a mock luggage and headed to the check-in counter. The ground staff took my passport and ticket, they check to ensure all the details are correct, and issued me a boarding pass. They took my luggage, and the bag is tagged and put on the conveyor belt. Part of the ORAT test is to ensure the baggage handling system is functioning correctly.
After that, I headed to the Domestic Terminal. I passed by the immigration check for international departures on my way there. Before entering the Domestic Terminal, there is the usual security check. The security check is manned by police officers, the same officer type that you would see in the existing KLIA. The police performed their check, including the x-ray scan.
After the security check I entered the passenger area of the airport. I roamed around and saw a lot of shops are putting up their finishing touches.
As per the signage suggested, it took me about 20 minutes to walk from the security check point to my departure gate. I noticed there are a lot of shops in KLIA 2, even near the departure hall area. This is good for passengers as they will have lots of opportunity for last minute shopping.
From my corridor to the domestic departure hall, I could see the Sky Bridge. The Sky Bridge connects the Main Terminal Building to international departures.
At my departure gate, the ground staff checked my boarding pass and asked me to sign an attendance list. This completes the “departure” scenario of the ORAT. The departure hall looks kinda small compared to KLIA or LCCT. I wonder if it can fit 150+ people if the flight is full.
After that the “arrival” scenario started. I was told to make my way to the arrival hall. Domestic arrivals are quite straight forward. I headed to the baggage collection area and then to the exit, which was manned by a security team.
That essentially completes the ORAT. Those testing the international departure/arrival will have one extra step where they are required to go through the immigration counter. I went back to the Main Terminal Building and reported to the ORAT team that I have completed the process. As I signed out, they gave me RM30 for participating in the ORAT. Quite cool. All 4,000 participants received RM30 provided they completed the end-to-end test of the ORAT.
There are still a number of minor work left, as can be seen in my photos above. I believe they should be able to complete it as per schedule (2 May). This ORAT has been a unique and interesting experience for me. To those involved in completing this airport, I wish them the best of luck and may it be delivered on time!