Proposed new KKIA complex will be like a city in itself, says Sabah GLC head

KOTA KINABALU: The proposed new airport site in Kimanis will house other supporting services as well, says state government-linked company Qhazanah Sabah.

Its chairman Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob said the proposed site measuring over 6,070ha will include the new Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), supporting services like maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO), and housing.

“It will be like a new city, an aeropolis,” he told reporters after a Warriors' Day event here on Monday (July 31).

The new site will also have room for expansion projects as complementary industries are added, he said.

Yusof said Sabah must have a long-term vision for its development projects.

For example, he said building the new airport in Kimanis means better road linkages between here and the town, with even the possibility of express rail services just like from Kuala Lumpur to KLIA in the peninsula.

“We have done a feasibility study on this project... (and) presented the papers to the Economic Planning Unit. Hopefully, (the project plan) will be tabled in the state Cabinet soon,” he added.

Yusof said the response from stakeholders so far had been positive, and the final decision would be up to the state Cabinet.

On funding, he said the best and fastest way is to get private investors involved because waiting for government funds would take years.

He said by seeking private funding after Cabinet approval is obtained, Sabah can expect to see the airport completed by 2030.

Regarding concerns that there will be safety and other issues owing to the gas plants in Kimanis, Yusof said it had already been considered.

“There is no problem,” he said, adding that proper groundwork had been done to address such concerns.

He said in many countries, international airports are no longer in or close to cities but rather in areas that are more suitable.

“If we leave KKIA in the city, it would hamper many development plans for Kota Kinabalu due to requirements like no tall buildings being allowed in the vicinity of the runway and airport," he added.

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