No plans to build new airport in Sabah – Anthony Loke

KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government has no plans to build a new airport in Sabah, according to Minister of Transport Anthony Loke.
Instead, he said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) is now focusing on making optimal use of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) since the construction of a new airport would involve a very huge allocation.
“The proposed new airport is far from Kota Kinabalu, I think it’s about 40 to 50 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu.
“What we have now, the KKIA, is more strategic because it is closer to the city centre, so we are looking into the possibility of expanding the terminals or extending the runway, and we will also look at how to optimise Terminal 2 of the KKIA,” he said this in reply to Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (PN-Beluran) when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address for his ministry at the Dewan Rakyat today.
Loke said the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) is also considering upgrading Terminal 1 of the KKIA to increase passenger handling capacity from nine million passengers per annum to 12 million passengers per annum to address congestion issues at the airport.
Prior to this, the media reported that the proposed construction of a new airport in Sabah in Kimanis would take three to five years after the state government approved the relocation of KKIA to a northern location in Sabah.
It was also reported that Qhazanah Sabah Bhd (QSB), a strategic investment arm of the Sabah government, expected the relocation of KKIA to commence in 2030, sparking mixed reactions from the people in the state.
Meanwhile, Loke said the FLYsiswa, the subsidy assistance initiative for the purchase of flight tickets for public university students on domestic routes between the peninsular and Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, will be continued next year and is expected to benefit almost 60,000 students.
He also said that the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) would hold discussions with local airlines, including Batik Airlines, to increase direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Labuan.
On the suggestion to have direct international flights to Sandakan, Loke said that the MOT has no problem with that as the country practices an Open Skies Policy and that any airport capable of receiving commercial aircraft can directly obtain such flights.
“This is a commercial decision to be made by those airlines if there is demand for it,” he added.


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