KOTA KINABALU: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) acting president Datuk Chin Su Phin has urged the government to thoroughly consider AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ proposal to move the airline’s operations back to Terminal 2 of Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).
He opined that the Terminal 1 was still capable of coping with the operations of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Malindo Air and AirAsia for the next 10 to 20 years.
“There is space for extension at Terminal 1 as well, if need be.
“I am sure most Sabahans will agree that concentrating all airlines at a single terminal is more convenient for passengers,” Chin said when officiating at the joint conference of LDP Api-Api, Likas, Kapayan and Pantai Manis divisions here yesterday.
He continued to say that the KKIA Terminal 2 had limited space and was poorly equipped.
Chin said Fernandes had vowed that AirAsia was prepared to upgrade the facilities at the low-cost terminal, akin to Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 4, which would incur hundreds of millions of ringgit.
“Fernandes also claimed that the move back to Terminal 2 would double tourist arrivals to five million a year.
“If works to overhaul Terminal 2 into a high standard airport complex falls short, the millions of tourists who landed at the poorly equipped terminal will surely form a bad impression of Sabah,” he pointed out.
Hence, he fervently hoped that the government will consider maintaining AirAsia’s operations at Terminal 1.
On another note, Chin said he had repeatedly raised the issue of non-provision of aerobridge facility for some AirAsia flights during his tenure as a senator.
He said the lack of aerobridge facility was extremely inconvenient for senior citizens and people suffering from mobility problems when they embarked and disembarked the plane.
Chin also said there was no need for the State Government to relocate the existing airport to Kimanis in the next 20 years.
“Before a new airport terminal is built in Kimanis, the State Government ought to consider the road conditions and basic infrastructure at the proposed site.
“Traffic is going to be a serious issue for passengers heading for Kimanis as there has yet to be a proper highway.”
Additionally, he said it was high time for the government to upgrade the worn-out facilities at Tawau Airport.
“The number of tourists who fly to Tawau Airport en route to Semporna has grown significantly in tandem with our booming tourism industry.
“Hence, the facilities at Tawau Airport must not be neglected.”
Chin also hoped that the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would carry on with the previous administration’s plan to extend the runway at Sandakan Airport in order to cope with larger foreign aircrafts.
Once completed, he believed that the extended runway would certainly boost the local tourism industry.