Kota Kinabalu international airport guide

When you are traveling to Malaysia, it is possible that you will be arriving or departing from Kota Kinabalu airport. Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah, Malaysia so the airport is serving this particular city. This airport is the second airport in Malaysia that is considered the busiest, after the first position is taken by the Kuala Lumpur International airport.

In Kota Kinabalu airport, around 5.8 millions of passengers come and go on daily basis, especially since it becomes the gateway of Sabah state, before you can enter Borneo. This airport caters to both domestic and international flight. In the Terminal 1 building only, there are about 64 counters for the check in, 17 parking bays for the aircraft – that can be used for narrow or wide planes – and it is able to accommodate about 3,200 passengers on busy days and hours.


The Kota Kinabalu International airport was originally built as military airfield that had been built by the Japanese forces. It was first set up during the time of World War II. Kota Kinabalu was previously had different name, Jesseltown, so the airport was known as the Jesseltown Airfield. During the last period of the World War II, the city and the airport were both suffering from bombings by Allied Forces until the Japanese finally surrendered around 1945.

Later on, the DCA or Department of Civil Aviation of North Borneo, which is now known as Sabah, took care of the airport and did everything they could to restore and fix the airport. The previous runway which was grass strip, was changed into bitumen material in 1957. At the same ear, they also built new terminal.

The runway was extended and lengthened by 1959, so the Viscount Malayan Airways aircraft could operate. From that time, expansion and development were made so different commercial flights could run and operate. The numbers have been slowly increasing, so the airport can be on its state now.

The Kota Kinabalu airport was undergoing renovation and also extension in 2005. The project cost around RM 1.4 billion. But the runway was extended and the terminal 1 was getting increase in size. Due to the increase, the airport is now able to cater to bigger planes, like the Airbus, Fokker, and also Boeing. The tower for the traffic control was separated so it can do better monitor and watch. If you are interested in visiting the airport, learn how to go there and view the available access.

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