KOTA KINABALU, July 19 – AirAsia Berhad plans to move its operation from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here.
Its group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said he hoped the move would materialise in six months’ time.
He said the move was in line with the airline’s direction to help increase the tourist arrivals in Sabah to nine million visitors by 2020. Tony had stated that AirAsia expects a 26 per cent annual growth in passenger numbers if it operated in Terminal 2.
“We believe the airline could boost tourist arrivals in Sabah but we need the support in terms of airport facility and hope for Terminal 2 to be reopened,” he said after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal here.
Other matters discussed were the possibility of a new airport in the state and additional international flights to Tawau and Sandakan.
Tony said AirAsia aims to attract five million passengers annually when they begin their operations at Terminal 2.
Apart from the submitting the proposal to reopen Terminal 2 to Shafie, the proposal was also submitted to Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi and Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
He said Mohamaddin was open to the idea of the move instead of allowing Terminal 2 to become a white elephant.
“We are hoping that the state government will accept the proposal as it will be more cost effective instead of building new airport.
“Besides that, we are also introducing flights connecting Kota Kinabalu with Perth, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, as well as China, Japan, India and Korea,” he said.
AirAsia moved its operations to Terminal 1 in December 2015 following the closure of Terminal 2. Tony said AirAsia was mulling on a RM20 million investment to expand Terminal 2, which would create about 30,000 new jobs.