Sometime in 2026, if I am still around, I’ll be able to travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by high speed train and I will be able to do it in 90 minutes as opposed to four hours by car.
For now, though, while the ambitious rail link project conceived in 2013 and formally signed last December, is being worked on – and who knows what delays it will run into – the quickest way is still via air.
The AirAsia flight I’m on is full. It’s still Chinese New Year season and I can imagine the ancillary revenues the airline is chalking up in baggage fees during this festive period – there’s now the option online to buy extra baggage – and even on such a short flight, people have pre-booked meals.
I am on my way to visit AirAsia’s new headquarters at Sepang. It’s called RedQ as a result of a naming competition won by Filipina AirAsia X flight attendant January Ann Baysa. About 2,000 AirAsia and AirAsia X employees moved into this new 18,000sqm, RM140m facility, late last year, and it is clear this new RedQ is built with them in mind.
It’s a far cry from the old dark and cramped offices I once visited. This RedQ is spacious, open and cheerful – lots of spaces and rooms for meetings and for hanging out. The central area is like a playground and the day I was there, there was a group of Chinese schoolkids on a student programme to explore Malaysia and a CCTV crew was accompanying the kids.
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