Kamaruzzaman Razali, General Manager of Malaysian Airports, Sdn Bhd (MASB), said the consultant for the proposed update was appointed and the study is expected to be ready by April. The study included meetings with all airlines so that successful feedback would help the construction of Tawau airports.
"Only after it is finished, consultants are named to know the precise figures of passengers and the cost of upgrading," he said following the opening flight to Tawau by Royal Brunei Airlines.
Kamaruzzaman suggested that they would consider all aspects in order to respond to the international needs of the airport since Tawau Airport has been built for domestic flights and MASB needs to satisfy the standard specifications of the Civil Airport Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).
"We have taken several steps over this very short time to identify passengers but we need an appropriately planned plan to ensure that in future Tawau Airport will receive more passengers," he added.
Tawau Airport is Malaysia's 4th most busy domestic airport, with 1.64 million passenger movements reported in 2018.
"Over 1,38 million passengers traveled across this airport from January to September 2019, an impressive growth of 15.5% over the same period last year. With the support of Royal Brunei Airlines and other airlines, we believe that we will continue to grow. This is sponsored by every major tourist attraction and bid in Sabah, both locally and abroad, "he said.
Nonetheless, we have now outperformed this estimate and now are proposing a plan of airport expansion to increase the capacity of the airports to 2,5 million passengers per year, Kamarouzzaman said. It was built to support a capacity of 1,4 million passengers per year.
He said that an expansion complements Malaysia's collaboration in marketing and tourism promotion to Malaysia in the pursuit of the visit of Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) between the Airports of Malaysia and Malaysia tourism.
The operation of Royal Brunei Airlines flying six times a week to the airport with their Bandar Seri Begawan ATR 72 aircraft will certainly complement all of these upgrades.
Meanwhile, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) General Manager Noredah Othman hoped to help Sabah hit the four-million mark this year, by launching Royal Brunei Airlines at Tawau.
"One hour flight six days a week will improve the tourism industry," she said.
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