KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) will be undertaking a RM10 million project to carry out upgrading works at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal One.
MAB managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali yesterday said they would be setting up inline screening of incoming passengers which would allow for faster processing time.
At the same time, MAB will also be designing a two-boarding bridge to cater for more planes as well as configure the immigration counters which will allow for better flow for both incoming and outgoing passengers.
The project would be ready by next year, he said.
In addition, MAB would also expand the remote parking bays, he said.
“We are preparing to add 11 more bays,” he explained, adding that this was one of MAB’s short-term plans.
In its mid-term plan, MAB hopes to expand the terminal but stated that this would probably happen four to five years from now.
Badlisham was earlier with Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun to brief the latter on the developments that would be taking place at KKIA Terminal One as well as to inform him on the tremendous growth in tourist arrivals up until September.
He attributed the tremendous growth to the efforts made by the ministry as well as to the Sabah Tourism Board in promoting Sabah as a tourist destination.
Last month, statistics showed that KKIA recorded the best growth for its international passenger traffic at 29 percent, registering 1.4 million passengers compared to 1.1 million during the same period last year.
In September alone, KKIA registered impressive growth for international passengers climbing up to 46 percent.
The impressive growth was contributed by a strong performance from a wide range of airlines primarily the AirAsia Group, Jin Air from South Korea, and 16 other airlines operating at KKIA. AirAsia Group had also experienced a significant growth in international traffic since its move to Terminal One at 16 percent over the same period in 2015.
The Sabah Tourism Board had also reported an increase in total number of visitors/tourists to Sabah, for both international and domestic, which grew to 1.62 million or 3.7 percent year-on-year (YoY) for the period January to June 2016.
KKIA now handles an average of 180 flights daily where the number of passengers flying through the terminal has also increased to approximately 18,000 passengers per day compared to 8,000 before the consolidation of operations.
On top of attracting several new airlines such as Jeju Air from South Korea, Lucky Air from China and Tigerair Taiwan to fly into Sabah, existing airlines such as Jin Air has also increased its frequency to twice daily for its Incheon-Kota Kinabalu route.
The increased traffic and frequencies resulted from more robust connectivity and convenient facilities provided by the consolidated operations within a single terminal, for passengers and airlines alike.
Meanwhile, Masidi expressed that his ministry worked well with MAB and the latter had been prompt in addressing any issues related to KKIA.
He also commented on the upcoming Budget 2017, saying that he would be happy if his ministry would be able to receive the same amount as this year for its allocation/budget next year.
“If we get the same amount as we got now, we will be very happy,” he said.