New Straits Times, Photo Credit to Borneo Post Online
clock 09-12-2019
hit 351

Three Sabah Airports, Including KKIA, to Be Upgraded

The federal government is mulling expanding the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here in tandem with growth in passenger numbers.

Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament Chan Foong Hin said that according to the National Airport Master Plan 2008, the existing KKIA has a maximum capacity of 21 million passengers per annum (mppa).


“KKIA is expected to reach the maximum capacity limit only in 2037," said Chan, referring to Transport Minister Anthony Loke's winding up speech on the federal 2020 Budget.


Chan, who is also Sabah DAP Secretary, said that a Master Plan Study on KKIA’s expansion was initiated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) in August.


"The study will take seven months and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.


"The Master Plan Study is intended to undertake a review of KKIA's long-term planning and development," he added.


Meanwhile, Chan refuted claims that KKIA’s Terminal 2 is underutilised.


To date, Terminal 2 is used for the general aviation operations of two companies operating in offshore areas – Westar Aviation and Sazma.


Both companies operate three flights a day.


"In addition, Terminal 2 is used for cargo (transportation), private aircraft, royal family aircraft, official government aircraft and the transportation of soldiers involved in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).


“In any event, I was informed that the future use of Terminal 2 will also be reviewed in this new Master Plan Study on KKIA’s expansion,” said Chan.


As for proposals for a new airport in the state capital, Chan said that there is no plan for that, as the federal government had, in 2006, invested over RM1.6 billion in upgrading the existing airport.


Chan added that the Transport Ministry is also planning to upgrade and modernise Tawau Airport and increase passenger handling capacity from 1.5 million to 2.5 million mppa by 2027.


For Sandakan Airport, renovation work is expected to begin early next year for an 18-month implementation period.


The federal government had approved an allocation of RM80.9 million under the 11th Malaysia Plan for the Sandakan Airport Expansion Project.


The project involves extending the runway from 2,133 meters to 2,500 meters, construction of the new Connecting Taxiway, widening of aircraft and reconfiguration areas, providing new Precision Approach Light and related work.


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