The Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) has the capacity to handle a maximum of 12 million passengers per annum after the renovation works.
Generally, the forecast has suggested that the present airport will last out within this five years, said Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) chief operating officer Azmir Zain.
"KKIA has handled 7.2 million passengers in 2016, today it has the capacity to handle nine million passengers per annum" said Azmir during a media briefing on â€˜MAVCOM Consumer Report and Industry Report-Waypoint' at a hotel on Thursday, 17 August.
"MAHB (Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad) explained to us with some adjustment and renovation done to the airport (KKIA), it can increase that capacity to 12 million passengers per year" he disclosed.
"Beyond that, we understand that there are discussions between the federal and state governments. We leave it to them to make the announcement in due course" said Azmir.
On other issues, he said the rural air services (RAS) in Sabah and Sarawak are under the purview of the Ministry of Transport.
"Air connectivity is a critical mode of transportation for Sabah and Sarawak. The federal government already had the RAS programme since independence.
"The federal government also developed the Pan Borneo Highway project connecting all the coastal cities in Sabah and Sarawak.
"But, the rural areas still depend on air connectivity, hence the RAS is emphasized" he said. He said MAVCOM also introduced a valuation process for commercial licences for both schedule and non-schedule carriers and also for ground handlers.
"In Sabah, as of today, we have issued seven air permits for commercial air services and 11 licences for ground handlers" said Azmir.
The valuation process is aimed to ensure all licence holders are financially visible and healthy so that they can continue to adhere to security requirements without compromising the safety, he said.
He also confirmed that MAVCOM will impose a levy of RM1 (US$0.23) on air travellers departing Malaysia airport as early as 2018.
The levy will be tabled in Parliament in Oct. It will apply to all departing passengers to both domestic and overseas destinations except for RAS routes in Sabah and Sarawak.
He said the levy collected will be used to sustain the financial position of MAVCOM so that they can work independently in drawing up their airport services, setting and the enhancement of the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016.
"When the levy came into force, depending on the traffic for that particular year, we expect to collect RM30-RM35 million per annum" disclosed Azmir.