Friday, 31 August, 2018 11:39:43 AM

History of Kota Kinabalu Airport

Kota Kinabalu International Airport TERMINAL 1


Terminal 2 was build in 1980s and serves international flights.

The new Terminal 2 began construction in 2007 at the right side and completed in 2009.

The building above hence became the old Terminal 2 which will soon be demolished to make way for extension to the new Terminal.

This old terminal that had been used since the 1980s will be demolished and rebuilt by mid-2009.

The present air traffic control tower (middle of above photo) 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.

This first and original airport terminal of KK airport was built in 1957.

Named Terminal 2 after the second larger Terminal 1 was completed at the Western end of the runway  in 1980s.

The above photo taken in 2006 shown a tall crank behind the building indicating construction works began in building the new terminal.

This old building was dismantled few month after the photograph was taken.

9 million passengers annual capacity.

Second largest airport in Malaysia Terminal 1 is the main terminal of KKIA. Cost RM720millions to build.

Facilities includes 12 gates, 5 air bridges, and 4 baggage claim belts.

Features duty-free shops,  lounges, travel agents, restaurants.

Terminal 1's new wing was opened while the other wing was closed on August 19, 2008 from upgrading. It will also have a place for small aircraft passengers.

After the whole terminal was completed, the new wing will be the international wing while the old wing will be the domestic wing.

Malaysia Airlines is the main operating airline in this terminal. Terminal 1 has 5 gates.

More about KKIA-Terminal 1...

3 million passengers annual capacity.

Terminal 2 used to be the original terminal building of the airport when it was first built.

 Terminal 2 is really for charter and low cost carrier. It is also called LCCT-KK.

This renovated and extended Terminal 2 opened on January 1, 2007 in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007. and 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.

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.

More about KKIA-Terminal 2...

History of Kota Kinabalu Airport

Kota Kinabalu Airport began as Jesselton Airfield - a military airfield built by the Japanese occupying forces during World-War II

Towards the end of the war, it suffered severe bombings by Allied Forces until the surrender of the Japanese army in 1945.

After the war, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) of North Borneo 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.

By 1959, the runway was extended to 1,593 meters long to enable the operation of Malayan 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 organized 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, and in January 2007 the original terminal was rebranded Terminal 2, and the other became known as Terminal 1.

Photos above taken in 2006 : This is the original KKIA building build in the 1980s

In 2007, 2.5 million unique tourists visited Sabah through this above old airport building.  Unable to corps with the annual increase of visitors, a new TERMINAL 1 was completed in 2009 to replaced this old building.

Air Port