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.
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