I read an interesting piece of news for Kota Kinabalu in propertyhunter.com.my In 2016, Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) handled 7.2 million passengers. (This means that it remains the second busiest airport in Malaysia after KLIA, ahead of even Penang International Airport (PIA) which many may see as the second busiest airport in Malaysia. In 2016, PIA is expected to handle 6.4 million passengers. Read here. ) A difference of 800,000 meant that KKIA should continue to lead PIA even for 2017. Today, KKIA has a capacity to handle 9 million passengers and based on estimation, it will reach its full capacity by 5 years. Beyond that, with some renovation, it will be able to handle up to 12 million passengers. According to Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) chief operating officer Azmir Zain, he has received an explanation from MAHB (Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad) that with some adjustments and renovations, KKIA can handle up to 12 million passengers per year.
Azmir also shared that air connectivity is critical and that the rural areas in Sabah and Sarawak still need to depend on air connectivity. Thus the rural air service (RAS) will continue to have focus. There is also the Pan Borneo Highway project which seeks to connect all the coastal cities in Sabah and Sarawak. He also confirmed that MAVCOM will impose a levy of RM1 (US$0.23) on air travellers departing Malaysia airport as early as 2018. The levy will be tabled in Parliament in Oct 2017. If it goes through, the levy will apply to all departing passengers to both domestic and overseas destinations except for RAS routes in Sabah and Sarawak. The levy collected will be used to sustain the financial position of MAVCOM so that it will be ableto work independently in drawing up their airport services, setting and the enhancement of the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016. (I think independence is pretty important in this case. Civil Aviation Authority of the UK also does not receive any direct government funding.) The full article here.
One major reason why Ipoh will find it hard to compete with Penang or the Klang Valley is because it does not have a proper international airport. It is the capital city of Perak. Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah. It deserves all the attention and with more flights and passengers, it meant that there would be more economic activities happening within Sabah and indirectly everywhere else that the airlines fly to from Kota Kinabalu. With direct flights, tourism can fluorish. Even new investments would be flowing in more smoothly because there is no need to look for alternative accessibility links for example. I hope that the international flights into KKIA would continue to increase. There are so many more destinations that low-cost airlines could develop with the more advanced cities within the 5 hour radius. Yes, current level of the ringgit helps too. See you soon KKIA. I usually go at least twice a year.
written on 19 Aug 2017
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