Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Kuching International Airport (KIA) reaching its full capacity

KUCHING: The Kuching International Airport (KIA) has almost reached its capacity of five million passengers per year.

This was disclosed by AirAsia Berhad chief executive officer Aireen Omar who proposed that the international airport here be expanded to bring in more connectivity to the state.

“I think the current airport facility (KIA) is reaching its full capacity already because last year it has reached almost five million passengers and the capacity of this international airport is five million per annum.

“So I think we need to start looking at how to expand the airport now in order for us to realise our plans in bringing more connectivity,” she told a press conference after joining Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah in welcoming passengers from the inaugural AirAsia flight from Pontianak, Indonesia to Kuching at KIA yesterday.

Aireen was responding to a question on whether AirAsia’s plans to have a dedicated low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in the state was still in the pipeline.

She pointed out that the world’s best low-cost airline has long-term plans to contribute towards the development of Kuching and Sarawak as a whole.

“We have our plans for the next five, seven and even ten years or so and we definitely need to start, working on this.

As a start what we can do immediately is whatever existing destinations we already have in our network, we can connect these routes into Kuching so that Kuching can have more direct flights.

“Apart from that, we can also look at the depth of direct flights and whether we can have more frequencies of existing routes while also expanding into new routes,” she explained.

She also suggested expanding beyond Asean countries in view of good traffic demand coming from North Asia and Australia among others.

“In order to speed this dream into reality as soon as possible, it will be fantastic to have an LCCT in the state. It is something we have always discussed with the state government and we look forward to the progress of this discussion,” she said.