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New Kota Kinabalu International Airport terminal only a short-term solution
Published on: Friday, December 29, 2023
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New Kota Kinabalu International Airport terminal only a short-term solution
Faizal also highlighted that with the rapid development of East Kalimantan as the new capital of Indonesia, it is essential for Sabah to develop its competitive advantages.
Kota Kinabalu: Constructing a new terminal at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is just a short-term solution, said senior aviation consultant Mohd Faizal Malik.

He said the offer from The Federal Government, which is aimed at catering to KKIA’s growing demand, does not meet the airport’s future needs as the second busiest airport in Malaysia.

He said adding a new terminal at KKIA does not address its current limitation, stressing that KKIA remains a single-runway airport. 

“KLIA has three runways and with KKIA being the second busiest airport in the country, at the very least, Sabah needs an airport that has dual runways to cater for future growth,” said Faizal, who is also the Chairman of Nexgen CMILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) Sabah.

He said there is not much room for expansion at the airport’s current site due to its proximity to the coastline and  surrounding areas which are densely populated.

Furthermore, any land reclamation attempt would adversely affect Tanjung Aru’s beauty and jeopardise the area’s future development and surroundings.

Faizal also claimed that issues such as noise and air pollution, as well as the health and safety of residents living within the vicinity, should be taken into consideration.

“We should learn Subang Airport which ultimately forced its relocation and the construction of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

“The imminent saturation of the current facility underscores the urgency of the proposed relocation to Tuaran or Kimanis, both offering ample space and resources to accommodate the escalating number of passengers and sustain the trajectory of Sabah’s aviation sector.”

The proposed relocation, necessitated by the current airport nearing its maximum capacity of 10 million passengers per year and already handling approximately nine million passengers annually, aims to address the growing demands of modern aviation.

Faizal also highlighted that with the rapid development of East Kalimantan as the new capital of Indonesia, it is essential for Sabah to develop its competitive advantages.

As such, investing and modernising its facilities, such as having a modern airport, would not only attract investors but also improve Sabah’s air connectivity, leverage its advantage and complement the development in Kalimantan and the Bimp-Eaga region.

However, Faizal cautioned that any proposed relocation would need to undergo thorough assessments, feasibility studies, and community consultations to ensure alignment with regulatory requirements and the best interests of all stakeholders involved.

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