KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) Chairman Datuk Seri Winston Liaw yesterday disclosed that the association has been asked to initiate a dialogue between Malaysia Airports Berhad and AirAsia with regards to the latter’s refusal to relocate to Terminal One of Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).
Liaw told reporters yesterday that the decision was made during a recent meeting attended by representatives from AirAsia and business community leaders in Sabah.
“Now we have only heard from AirAsia on why it does not want to relocate but we also want to hear from MAB on why it is insisting for the low cost carrier to move its operations from KKIA Terminal Two to Terminal One,” he said.
“We want to know what the real issue here is and maybe we can offer suggestions as to how to resolve the matter,” he added.
According to Liaw, who is also Sabah Tourism Federation (STF) President, he will be writing in to both MAB and AirAsia to find out the date and time that is convenient for the dialogue to be held.
He will also write in to the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry as well as Sabah Tourism Board to invite their representatives to attend the dialogue.
He also hoped that all the relevant quarters involved in the state’s tourism industry will be able to send a representative to attend and participate in the dialogue.
“If the problem is solved, Sabah’s economy will get better as AirAsia has said it can increase tourist arrivals to Sabah. This is part of AirAsia’s future expansion plans,” Liaw said adding that they were informed of AirAsia’s plans to increase its number of flights operating out of Kota Kinabalu and also adding more airplanes to its current fleet of six based here.
AirAsia in 2014, Liaw said, carried a total of 3.6 million passengers to Kota Kinabalu via KKIA Terminal Two compared to the 3.2 million passengers disembarking at KKIA Terminal One.
This amounts to 52 per cent of the passenger traffic in KKIA, he pointed out.
AirAsia had also disclosed their plans to develop KKIA into an international hub with connectivity to China, India, Indochina, Korea and Japan and the low cost carrier expects to carry 10 million passengers by 2020, he said.
According to Liaw, AirAsia had also pointed out that relocating to KKIA Terminal One will only be a temporary solution to the congestion problem that people are complaining of in KKIA Terminal Two.
“AirAsia is of the opinion that KKIA Terminal One will also be congested in a few years time as the number of passengers is bound to increase,” he said adding that AirAsia had proposed the construction of another LCCT on a 40 acre plot of land adjacent to KKIA Terminal One as an alternative to it relocating.
“We therefore hope that both MAB and AirAsia will be agreeable to the dialogue and we also welcome the input, suggestions and feedback from all those involved in the business community in Sabah.
“They can call SATTA office at 088-230 322 with their feedback or email them to me at [email protected],” he said.