KOTA KINABALU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CONTINUES TO REGISTER DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH IN INTERNATIONAL PASSENGER TRAFFIC MOVEMENTS
SEPANG – Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) continues to register double digit growth in international passenger traffic movements for the past ten months of 2016 as a result of the consolidation of operations under one roof thus allowing for greater capacity in catering to increased numbers of passengers.
From January to October 2016, month-on-month growth compared against last year for international passenger traffic movements ranged from 20% to 37%, with year-to-date (YTD) growth at 28%. Meanwhile, statistics had also shown that the airport had registered YTD total domestic and international passenger growth of 10%. This strong growth was contributed by strong performance from a wide range of airlines primarily the AirAsia Group, Jin Air from South Korea, and 16 other airlines operating at KKIA.
The Sabah Tourism Board had also reported an increase in total number of international and domestic visitors to Sabah for the period January to September 2016 totaling 2.5 million which is a 5.2% increase when compared to the same period last year.
Recently KKIA had welcomed Malaysia Airlines’ inaugural flight from Penang on 18 November 2016. The four times weekly direct flight between KKIA and Penang International Airport (PIA) is an additional route that will operate seasonally to capitalise on higher passenger movements during the upcoming holiday seasons, Christmas and Chinese New Year.
Malaysia Airports is pleased with the launch of this new seasonal route as it will further promote both KKIA and PIA as a preferred hub in this region. Travellers to and within Malaysia are also now able to take advantage of this newly launched route by Malaysia Airlines which will effectively serve to further promote tourist destinations in either Sabah or the northern region of Peninsula Malaysia.
With the launch of Malaysia Airlines’ new seasonal route, Mohd Suhaimi Abdul Mubin, General Manager of Malaysia Airports expects the number of passengers passing through the airport to increase even higher in the lead up to the Christmas and New Year celebrations, starting from the third week of December up till the first week of January 2017.
“Today, KKIA handles an average of 180 flights and approximately 18,000 passengers daily. However, during this upcoming holiday season, we expect to handle approximately 20,000 passengers per day. Therefore, the travelling public is reminded to check details of their flight departure time with their respective airlines to avoid any inconveniences. Passengers should also arrive early at the airport as check-in counters are open three hours prior to departure and will close one hour before your flight time,” he added.
He also said that the airport operator will ensure efficient collaboration within the airport community including with government agencies and service operators so that airport operations will continue to run smoothly despite the higher traffic.
The airport was upgraded in 2010 at the cost of RM1.7 billion in order to cater for future growth, as well as provide better comfort and convenience to passengers. Built at a capacity of 9 million passengers per annum (mppa), it now handles approximately 7 million passengers a year and is well-equipped with ample facilities such as 64 check-in counters, passenger boarding bridges, 1,400 car parking bays and various retail and F&B outlets within the terminal to provide airport visitors with a variety of options.
Malaysia Airports will continue to invest in enhancing its operational efficiencies in line with the company’s mission to create joyful experience for passengers. Approximately RM10 million will be invested on improvements such as installing two units of passenger boarding bridges and inline x-ray screening machine, as well as, reconfiguring the immigration counters to minimise congestion and decrease queueing time.
Malaysia Airports had also pledged a further RM10 million in support of further development of the state tourism industry where, among others, joint promotions are intensified to market Sabah as a destination to tourists from North East Asia. In 2016, KKIA had attracted several new airlines such as Spring Air and Lucky Air from China, Jeju Air from South Korea, and Tigerair Taiwan to fly into Sabah, while existing airlines such as Jin Air had increased its frequency to twice daily flights for its Incheon – Kota Kinabalu route.