Upgraded facilities at Kota Kinabalu International Airport has prompted Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to mount direct flights between the city and Northeast Asian points such as China, Japan and South Korea, as well as to Perth in Australia, thus cutting down on travel time. “KK”, as the East Malaysian hub is called, is famous for its rainforests, dive spots and unique wildlife such as the orang utan.
Dr Amin Khan, MAS’ executive vice-president for commercial strategy, told Business Traveller that bypassing the usual stopovers of either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore from those destinations would shave off between 90 and 120 minutes from the current journey.
According to Khan, MAS will base six Boeing B737-800s there, one of which arrived recently. It sports the “sky interiors”, hallmark of the much-awaited Dreamliner whose delivery is overdue.
The new terminal features new MAS’ Golden Lounges for international and domestic customers and 12 aerobridges, and there are also nine open bays. The runway has been extended to handle a B747. From four million passengers per annum, it is now expected to be able to handle 9 million passengers per annum.
Apart from its tourism assets, KK is also the gateway to Malaysia’s huge oil and gas resources, mining and fishing sites and aluminium processing plants.
MAS launched direct flights to Northeast Asia in mid-November to Haneda. On January 15, it will fly to Perth, Australia. Among KK airport’s foreign tenants are Royal Brunei Airlines, Dragonair and Philippine low-cost carrier, Cebu Pacific.
For more details, visit www.malaysiaairlines.com
Margie T Logarta