Kota Kinabalu International Airport

Kota Kinabalu International Airport
Kota Kinabalu International Airport
Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kota Kinabalu
BKI is located in Borneo
Location of airport in East Malaysia
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Malaysia
Operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
Serves Interior Division, West Coast Division, Sabah, East Malaysia
Location Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 10 ft / 3 m
Coordinates 05°56′13″N 116°03′04″E / 5.93694°N 116.05111°E / 5.93694; 116.05111Coordinates: 05°56′13″N 116°03′04″E / 5.93694°N 116.05111°E / 5.93694; 116.05111
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 3,780 12,402 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Passengers 5,223,000
Movements 55,241
Source: official web site[1] and DAFIF.[2][3]

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) (IATA: BKIICAO: WBKK) serves the city of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, Malaysia. It is located about 8 km southwest of the city centre. It is the second busiest airport in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur International Airport, handling 4.8 million passengers in 2009.[4][5] It is the main gateway into the state of Sabah and into Borneo. The new Terminal 1 building has 64 check-in counters for international and domestic flights; 17 aircraft parking bays capable of accommodating both the wide and narrow body aircraft and the terminal building can handle 3,200 passengers per peak hour.

The Departure Hall column head design is inspired by the ‘Wakid’ basket design. A ‘Wakid’ is a symbolic native practice in preparing for a meaningful journey. Some ethnic pattern of the Rungus and Bajau were also applied in the floor tiles pattern. The floor size at Level 1 is 24,128 sqm, Level 2 is 18,511.4 sqm and Level 3 is 22,339 sqm providing sufficient comfort space for all passengers. The new terminal has also been configured with 12 aerobridges. The terminal has a total of seven luggage x-ray machines installed. For hand luggage, there is one for VIP, three for departure and one for staff entrance while two machines are available for baggage check-in. It is also configured with a total of 36 immigration counters, 16 for departures and 20 for arrivals. There are also six baggage carousels available. Commercial activities are offered via duty free shops, retail outlets and food & beverage outlets.



The airport first began as a military airfield built by the Japanese occupying forces during World-War II.[6] It was then known as Jesselton Airfield (Kota Kinabalu was previously known as Jesselton). Towards the end of the war, it suffered severe bombings by Allied Forces until the surrender of the Japanese army in 1945.[7]

After the war, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) of North Borneo (now Sabah) took charge of the operations and maintenance of the airport. In 1957, the original grass strip runway was resurfaced with bitumen material and a new terminal was built.[6] By 1959, the runway was extended to 1,593 metres long to enable the operation of Malaysia Airways Viscount aircraft. In 1963, there was the reinforcement and further expansion of the runway to 1,921 meters long to cater for Comet 4 operations. Commercial flights and passenger arrivals gradually increased and a larger terminal building was needed to accommodate this increase.

In 1969 a British consultancy firm was appointed to formulate a Master Plan for a phased and organised development of KKIA from 1970 until 2000 and years beyond. The master plan was submitted to the government with the following recommendations:

  • To reinforce and expand the runway distance to 2,987 meters long to cater for Boeing Jet 707 and 747 operations.
  • To build a new terminal complex and parallel taxiway which connects to the runway.
  • To provide navigation equipments, communication facilities and a modern light system for the runway.

Around the 1970s to 1980s, a newer terminal building was built on the other side of the runway. Almost all commercial flights were shifted to this newer and larger terminal. From then on until recently, the original terminal became known as Airport Lama ("old airport"). In 1992, the DCA of Sabah was corporatised, and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad took over management and operations of the airport.[6] Further expansion project began in 2006 for both terminals (see below), and in January 2007 the original terminal was rebranded Terminal 2, and the other became known as Terminal 1.

Expansion and renovation

In mid 2005, the Malaysian government approved a project for major renovation and extension of KKIA worth RM1.4 billion. The project saw the 2,988 m (9,803 ft) runway extended to 3,780 m (12,402 ft) and the size of the main airport terminal building (Terminal 1) increased from 34,000 m2 (370,000 sq ft) to 87,000 m2 (940,000 sq ft). The new airport terminal building will be able to accommodate four Boeing 747s, one Airbus A330, seven Boeing 737s, three Fokker 50s and three Dorniers at any one time. It will also have 12 jetways for passenger use.[8][9] The present air traffic control tower which is attached to the main terminal building will be demolished and will be replaced by a separate, stand alone tower. The whole project including the runway extension is scheduled to be completed by mid-2009.[4]

Schematic map of the airport

When the overall project is completed, the airport will be able to accommodate the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft. The airport will also be the second largest airport in Malaysia with an annual capacity of 12 million passengers — 9 million from Terminal 1 and 3 million from Terminal 2.[10]


Terminal 1

Terminal 1 is the main terminal of KKIA located at Kepayan area. It can be accessed via Jalan Kepayan, Jalan Lintas and Jalan Putatan. Currently, the main tel is undergoing a massive renovation and expansion. When it's completed, the terminal would be capable of handling 9 million passengers annually compare to its previous capacity which is 2.5 million passengers annually. It also features duty-free shops, other shops, lounges, travel agents, restaurants, and many others.

Terminal 1's new wing (phase 1) was completed and opened for commercial use on August 19, 2008 while the other wing (phase 2) was closed for renovation and is expected to complete by May 2010. It will also have a place for small aircraft passengers. After the whole terminal was completed, the first wing will be accommodating international flights while the second wing will be for domestic flights. After completion, Terminal 1 would be equipped with:

  • 64 check-in counters for international and domestic flights
  • 2 baggage x-ray check-in machines and 5 hand luggage x-ray machines (3 for departure, 1 for VIP and 1 for staff)
  • 36 Immigration counters (16 for departures and 20 for arrivals)
  • 6 baggage carousels
  • 3 floor level (Ground floor: Arrival Hall, First Floor: Office and Airline company, Second Floor: Check-in counter and departure hall)
  • 9 aerobridges
  • 17 aircraft parking bays capable of accommodating both the wide and narrow body aircraft
  • 1,400 car park and dedicated parking area

The first flight to depart at the new wing was MH 2637 to Kuala Lumpur at 0650 hours while the last flight at the old wing was at 0025 hours. Malaysia Airlines is the main operating airline in this terminal.[11]

Lobby hall, Terminal 2

Terminal 2

What is today Terminal 2 used to be the original terminal building of the airport when it was first built. It is accessed via Jalan Mat Salleh in Tanjung Aru and is located on the other side of the runway from Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is for charter and low cost carrier. Sometime, it is called LCCT. Terminal 2 has recently undergone a major renovation and extension and it re-opened on January 1, 2007 in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007. It was completed 27 months ahead of schedule. Although it is renovated to serve the low cost carriers, namely AirAsia, it is not a low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) as that of Kuala Lumpur International Airport's LCCT, as here, other full service airlines may utilize the terminal.[12] It has 26 check-in counters for domestic and international flights and 6 parking bays for B737 and A320 aircraft as well as 7 luggage x-ray machines, a VIP room and 13 immigration counters. The terminal has the capacity to handle 3 million passengers annually.[10]

Airlines and destinations

Indoor Shopping, Terminal 2
Gate A5 area, Terminal 1
VIP Waiting room, Terminal 2

There are 19 airlines operating in KKIA (including charters and seasonals) :


Airlines Destinations Terminal
AirAsia Clark, Hong Kong, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Miri, Penang, Sandakan, Shenzhen, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan, Tawau 2
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon 1
Cebu Pacific Manila 2
Dragonair Hong Kong 1
Eastar Jet Seoul-Incheon 2
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon 1
Malaysia Airlines Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Labuan, Osaka-Kansai, Perth, Sandakan, Seoul-Incheon, Tawau, Taipei-Taoyuan, Tokyo-Haneda 1
Malaysia Airlines operated by MASwings Bintulu, Kuching, Kudat, Labuan, Lahad Datu, Lawas, Miri, Mulu, Sandakan, Sibu, Tawau, Bandar Seri Begawan 1
Royal Brunei Airlines Bandar Seri Begawan 1
SilkAir Singapore 1



Traffic and statistics


Destination services from KKIA
Year Passenger movements Aircraft movements
1960 33,570 -
1970 290,575 -
1975 520,540 -
1980 1,246,130 -
1985 1,430,000 -
1990 2,040,000 -
2000 3,092,326 41,411
2001 3,036,196 decrease1.8% 40,157
2002 3,256,212 increase7.3% 44,528
2003 3,302,366 increase1.4% 44,701
2004 3,918,201 increase18.7% 50,313
2005 3,975,136 increase1.5% 51,824
2006 4,015,221 increase1% 50,594
2007 4,399,939 increase9.6% 52,047
2008 4,689,164 increase6.6% 54,317
2009 4,868,526 increase3.8% 53,554
2010 5,223,000 increase6.8% 55,241


Busiest International Flights Out of Kota Kinabalu International Airport by Frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (Weekly)
1 Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong (KA, MH, AK) 19
2 Flag of Singapore.svg Singapore (AK, MI) 14
3 Flag of Brunei.svg Bandar Seri Begawan (BI, MH) 15
4 Flag of South Korea.svg Seoul (MH, OZ, ZE) 16
5 Flag of the Republic of China.svg Taipei (MH, AK) 14
6 Flag of the Philippines.svg Manila (AK, 5J) 10
7 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Shenzhen (AK) 7
8 Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo (MH) 4
9 Flag of Indonesia.svg Jakarta (AK) 3
10 Flag of Australia.svg Perth (MH) 3
11 Flag of Japan.svg Osaka (MH) 2
Busiest Domestic Flights Out of Kota Kinabalu International Airport by Frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (Weekly)
1 Flag of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.svg Kuala Lumpur (AK, MH) 140
2 Flag of Sarawak.svg Miri (AK, MH) 49
3 Flag of Sabah.svg Sandakan (AK, MH) 42
3 Flag of Sabah.svg Tawau (AK, MH) 42
5 Flag of Sarawak.svg Kuching (AK, MH) 35
6 Flag of Sabah.svg Lahad Datu (MH) 28
7 Flag of Sabah.svg Labuan (AK, MH) 21
8 Flag of Johor.svg Johor Bahru (AK) 14
9 Flag of Sabah.svg Kudat (MH) 7
9 Flag of Sarawak.svg Mulu (MH) 7
9 Flag of Penang (Malaysia).svg Penang (AK) 7

Incidents and accidents

  • 6 June 1976 - A chartered Sabah Air carrying government ministers crashed in nearby Sembulan upon descending towards the airport killing 11 passengers including the then Chief Minister of Sabah Tun Fuad Stephens. The crash became known as the "Double Six Tragedy".
  • 6 September 1991 - An executive private executive jet with 10 Americans and two Britons on board crashed into the jungle near Hulu Kimanis, Papar, about 50 km from here.
  • 16 November 1991 - Three policemen perished after their 11-seater Pilatus Porter Royal Malaysian Police aircraft crashed at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
  • 18 September 1993 - A 13.5 square-metre depression occurred at the edge of the runway the airport had to closed for 70 minutes.
  • 18 July 2003 - On Dragonair flight 60, an Airbus A330-342 from Hong Kong to Kota Kinabalu encountered severe turbulence associated with Tropical Depression Koni over the South China Sea. 12 crew members and 3 passengers were injured, of which 2 crew members sustained serious injuries. The aircraft landed safely at Hong Kong International Airport.
  • 8 November 2004 - On AirAsia Flight 104, the Boeing 737-300 plane carrying 111 passengers and five crew skidded while landing. Three passengers - a five-year-old girl and two women - were injured while evacuating from the plane and received outpatient treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
  • 14 December 2005 - The Kota Kinabalu International Airport was closed for a few hours after an AirAsia plane burst a tire on landing. There were no injuries in the 10.30pm incident.
Check In Hall, Terminal 2


  1. ^ Kota Kinabalu International Airport at Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
  2. ^ Airport information for WBKK at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  3. ^ Airport information for BKI at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
  4. ^ a b "KK's LCC Terminal To Be Ready By End Of The Year", Bernama Aviation News, May 22, 2006.
  5. ^ a b "Malaysia Airports Statistics 2007". Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad. http://www.malaysiaairports.com.my/index.php?ch=17&pg=55&ac=173. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  6. ^ a b c Profile, Department of Civil Aviation, Sabah. Accessed April 10, 2007.
  7. ^ USAAF Chronology
  8. ^ "Airport expansion of national interest: CM", Daily Express News, April 12, 2006.
  9. ^ Design and Build Contract - Upgrading of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport Project (Package 1 - Terminal Building and Landside Infrastructure & Facilities), WCT Engineering Berhad. Accessed May 11, 2007.
  10. ^ a b "LCC terminal ready year end", Daily Express News, May 23, 2006.
  11. ^ Kota Kinabalu International Airport, A-Z World Airports Online. Accessed May 11, 2007.
  12. ^ "MAHB targets 45.5 m in passenger traffic", The Edge Daily, February 26, 2007.

External links

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