KOTA KINABALU: Future development plans are on the horizon but not yet set in stone for Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), said Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd (MASB) senior airport manager Sunif Naiman.
Sunif said KKIA could cater up to nine million passengers per year but its current capacity is at 6.5 million passengers, an underutilization even after Terminal 2-AirAsia consolidation on December 1, 2015.
“If we refer to the figure at this point in time, there is no necessity for expansion of the terminal or whatsoever, but again this is a decision by the top management,” he said during a media briefing at KKIA on Friday.
“Answer, there is but have yet to decide because it (the airport) is below capacity,” he said in response to the Borneo Post.
Sunif revealed that MASB had received notification that certain airlines were interested of turning Kota Kinabalu into a hub.
This includes Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which had also requested for six night -stop aircraft at the airport.
“For info, currently AirAsia, they have six night-stops, MAS five, Royal Brunei one, and MASwings, in fact, has six aircraft but they go to its hangar,” he said.
Sunif said the average passenger growth was approximately five percent year-on-year basis and the terminal is able to cater for the increasing number of passengers for another six to 10 more years to come.
He maintained tha the consolidation had provided comfort and convenience to passengers during normal and peak seasons with no congestion, especially in light of the over utilization of Terminal 2, two million maximum capacity, which had catered up to 3.5 million passengers per annum.
Since the consolidation six months ago, a total of 12,338 AirAsia flights have flown in and out of the terminal at the rate of 68 flights daily.
The airport is designed to cater to a maximum of 3,200 PPH. However, the current PPH during peak period now is only at 1,764 PPH, which shows that the terminal is still under utilised by 55%.
Statistical study shows that after the consolidation, the SLA for queue time at the check-in counters has significantly reduced to eight minutes compared to 23.92 minutes at Terminal 2 due to availability of more check-in counters.
Improvement is also seen in queue time at the immigration counters from 17.17 minutes at Terminal 2 to only eight minutes after the consolidation at Kota Kinabalu (BKI) terminal, he added.
“KKIA also experienced smooth operations during last Christmas, Kaamatan, Chinese New Year, and we anticipate seamless operations during Aidilfitri, estimated an increase of 0.2% compared to normal monthly average of approximately 552,000 passengers,” said Sunif.
He elaborated that the recent Kaamatan Harvest Festival celebration saw an increase in the monthly domestic passengers from 392,984 (April, 2016 vs May 2016) to 427,833 (a sudden increase by 8.9% from other ordinary month but operations went smooth.
The BKI terminal size is 103,956 sqm, which provides more space for airlines operation, passengers and airport users while the old terminal size is only 12,290 sqm.
Sunif added that the 64 check-in counters available at BKl now improved queue time. The 12 passenger boarding bridges (PBB) available assures passengers’ comfort compared to none at Terminal 2 previously.
After consolidation, 70% of the area passed by passengers is under roof with air-conditioning. At Terminal 2, only 30% of the area, experienced by passengers while travelling through the terminal, is covered with roof and air-conditioned, due to unavailability of PBB at the old terminal.
There are also ample seats for passengers at all 17 available boarding gates at BKI terminal today.
The senior manager also pointed out that the larger terminal had contributed to business opportunities for the airlines, retail and F&B industry.
Currently, there are 16 commercial airlines operating at KKIA with the upcoming addition of Lucky Air on June 29 and Jeju Air on July 20.