KOTA KINABALU: The low-cost carrier terminal for the Kota Kinabalu International Airport is expected to be ready in six months.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said turnkey contractor Global Upline Sdn Bhd was confident of completing it by the year's end if all parties involved, including the state, gave their full cooperation.
The terminal is needed urgently because of growing passenger and budget aircraft movements, Chan said at the ground-breaking ceremony for Package II of the airport redevelopment and expansion.
It will ease the burden on the main terminal building and will be used exclusively to cope with travellers of budget airlines like AirAsia.
Chan also expected to see more direct flights from countries in the region to Malaysia's second busiest airport.
The RM720mil Package II also included the construction of a new control tower and extension of the runway from 800m to 3,780m to cater for Boeing 747 aircraft.
Chan said Package I, also costing RM720mil, involved upgrading the main terminal building and other facilities.
The expansion project, to be launched soon, is scheduled to be completed in three years.
Chan, who performed the ground-breaking ceremony together with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin, said the main terminal could eventually handle nine million passengers annually compared with the current 2.5 million.
He said the number of aircraft parking bays would increase from five to 17.
The main terminal area would be expanded from 34,000 sq m to 84,000 sq m, he said, adding that the low-cost carrier terminal building itself would cover 12,300 sq m.
Yahya, who was representing Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, said the airport expansion project augured well not only for the states growing tourism sector but also for businessmen and investors seeking direct air links to the state.
AirAsia chief executive officer Tony Fernandez commended the Government for building the low-cost carrier terminal which would help his company boost direct flights from southern China and Asean-member countries.