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MAHB hopes AirAsia will move by Jan 15
Published on: Sunday, January 11, 2015
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KOTA KINABALU: January 15 is the new anticipated date for AirAsia to move its operations from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, although no date has been fixed. MAHB said traffic congestion in Tanjung Aru will be reduced significantly if the low-cost carrier moves its operations.Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd Kota Kinabalu senior operations executive Mali @ Awang Mali said, based on police feedback, the highway heading towards Tanjung Aru was always congested because of the terminal.

"During the peak period, when AirAsia brings in more aircrafts and passengers, this will contribute to traffic jams," he said.

"This was expressed by our senior general manager operation services Datuk Azmi Murad during our meeting with AirAsia, the Transport Ministry, State Government and other stakeholders on Dec 31. "AirAsia representatives have appealed to the Transport Minister and State Government to put it (the move) on hold."

He said the government was considering the appeal to postpone the move.

Awang said, among other things, the budget airline had also appealed to the State Government to maintain the current passenger service charge on airport tax. It was reported that the airport tax at Terminal 1 would be RM65 per person for international flights, compared with RM32 at Terminal 2.

Last month, AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Aireen Omar said the airline would move its operation to Terminal 1 when it had a "win-win agreement" with MAHB. Deliberations between AirAsia and the airport operator include the passenger service charge at the new terminal.

"All airline operating here (Terminal 1) will have the same charge. If we agree with AirAsia's request, it would not be fair for other airlines," said Awang.

Eleven airlines are operating from Terminal 1, including Cebu Pacific, which shifted its operation on Jan 3. Terminal 2 began operating as a temporary airport on Oct 20, 2002, as upgrading and reconstructing works here taking place at Terminal 1.

Awang said all airlines were to operate at the new terminal, adding the Terminal 2 was only designed to handle two million passengers.

"Last year, Terminal 2 handled 3.5 million passengers. The current terminal is no longer relevant to the current passenger movement because of its capacity.

"Terminal 1 has a capacity of nine million. Malaysia Airline and other airlines only contribute 3.5 million passengers, so we have enough space."

Awang said there should be no aircraft parking problems, as Terminal 1 had 24 parking bays. Once all airlines have moved, he said Terminal 2 would be turned into a base for general aviation, such as cargo operations.

Meanwhile, AirAsia said it could only give a comment next week.

Terminal 1 is the main terminal of Kota Kinabalu International Airport and is equipped with 64 check-in counter for international and domestic flights.

In a press release dated Dec 31, 2014 MAHB said the government had decided to defer the transfer of AirAsia's operations from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 to a later date.

It said the deferment was to allow AirAsia to complete the renovation of its offices at Terminal 1.


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