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KKIA the perfect gateway to M'sia from east
Published on: Saturday, November 10, 2012
By: James Sarda and Mary Chin
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THE upgraded Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) serves as a commanding entry-point into Sabah and gateway to Malaysia from the east.It boasts facilities and services that offer comfort and seamless travel to domestic and international destinations for up to 12 million passengers yearly, making it Malaysia's second busiest airport (after the Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and most important air hub.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman told the recent State Assembly sitting that Sabah now has 116 direct international flights with a capacity of 16,210 seats per week that connect to destinations such as Brunei, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Jakarta, Manila, Clark, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Tarakan.

These places are serviced by Malaysia Airlines (MAS), AirAsia, Royal Brunei Airlines, Dragon Air, Silk Air, Cebu Pacific, Eastar Jet, Aseana, Korean Air, Tiger Air and MASwings.

Built in 1986, KKIA is made up of two terminals:

Terminal 1 (9 million passengers), the main terminal of KKIA, located in the Kepayan area; and

Terminal 2 (3 million passengers) which used to be the original terminal building of the airport when it was first built (Tanjung Aru) after the war.

Renovation works were part of Malaysia Airports' objective to improve efficiency of airport management and facilities throughout the airport system in the country.

Major renovation and expansion of KKIA began in 2006 for both terminals, following the Federal Government's approval of the project worth RM1.4 billion in mid-2005. The project saw the 2,988m (9,803ft) runway extended to 3,780m (12,402ft), and the size of the main airport terminal building (Terminal 1) increased from 34,000m2 (370,000sq ft) to 87,000m2 (940,000sq ft).

Initial renovations at KKIA saw the development of a Terminal 2 (the original terminal) into a new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) and extension of the runway. By January 2007, it was re-branded as Terminal 2 while the other became known as Terminal 1 (Kepayan area).

Terminal 1's new wing (Phase 1) was completed and opened for commercial use in August 2008 while the other wing (Phase 2) was closed for renovation and expansion, and completed by May 2010.

The first wing accommodates international flights while the second wing caters to domestic flights.

Today, the new Terminal 1 building is equipped with 64 check-in counters (international and domestic), 36 immigration counters, 12 aerobridges and 24 parking bays to accommodate narrow body aircraft or 19 parking bays to accommodate a combination of wide body and narrow body aircraft simultaneously.

It is able to accommodate four Boeing 747s, one Airbus A330, seven Boeing 737s, three Fokker 50s and three Dorniers at any one time.

The Terminal 2 building is specifically for charter flights and low-cost carriers.

Built at a cost of RM69 million, this new terminal which was officially launched in February 2007, is able to handle up to 3 million passengers annually. It has 26 check-in counters for international and domestic flights and six aircraft parking bays capable of accommodating B737s or A320s.

Based on reports, the entire airport expansion project, including the runway extension, is scheduled to be completed by mid-2012.

However, it has been hit by delays.


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