Monday, August 18, 2008

Kota Kinabalu International Airport to open tomorrow

The RM1.4bil makeover of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport is one step closer to completion – the new main terminal will become operational tomorrow.

Malaysia Airports senior general manager Datuk Azmi Murad said operations at the existing terminal would be transferred to the new RM720mil building at 12.01am.

He said the new Terminal 1 is capable of handling up to 3,200 passengers per hour during peak periods as it has 64 check-in counters for international and domestic flights as well as 17 aircraft parking bays.

An interior view of the new Kota Kinabalu international airport terminal that include elements indigenous to Sabah such as a column heads resembling the traditional wakid baskets.

Azmi noted that elements indigenous to Sabah had been built into the interior of the terminal with the design of column heads inspired by the wakid or traditional baskets used by the Kadazandusun and Murut communities.

“Ethnic patterns of the Rungus and Bajau communities have also been incorporated into the way the floor tiles were laid out,” he told a media briefing at the new terminal building yesterday.

He said the old terminal that had been used since the 1980s would be demolished and rebuilt by mid-2009. It will be integrated with the new building, doubling the floor space to more than 100,000 sq m and be used mainly for domestic arrivals and departures.

Azmi said 4.3 million passengers used the airport last year, making it one of the busiest after KL International Airport. In comparison, the number of passengers passing through the Kuching and Penang airports last year was about three million.

For this year, Malaysia Airports was expecting up to 4.6 million passengers would pass through Kota Kinabalu International Airport, which has the capacity of handling up to nine million passengers annually.

“Going by an average growth of between 5% and 8% in passenger volume annually, we expect the terminal to reach its capacity in about eight to 10 years,” Azmi said, adding that there was still room for expansion.

The airport's redevelopment also included the construction of a low-cost carrier terminal that opened last year and the extension of the runway to 3,780m and a full-length taxiway scheduled to be completed next year.

Source : STAR
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