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Terminal 1 is AirAsia’s New Home at KKIA

The much anticipated arrival of the new AirAsia Airbus A320

On 1 December 2015, Terminal 1 finally became AirAsia’s new home at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

It was more than 7 years ago when the government mooted the idea of AirAsia moving to the then soon-to-be-completed Terminal 1.  AirAsia declined the offer then and ever since, citing various reasons.

7 years later those reasons meant KKIA’s Terminal 1 was just 15% utilised.

In those same 7 years Terminal 2 had grown well beyond its capacity. In the last year alone it facilitated more than half of KKIA’s over 6 million passenger traffic.

In spite of that, maintenance at Terminal 2 was lacking.

Perhaps passengers accepted the cramped, uncomfortable conditions at Terminal 2 as a sacrifice for flying low cost. Some passengers, in fact, argue the small terminal’s quick turnaround and processing of new passengers from newly arrived flights were a blessing.

But after spending billions on KKIA’s Terminal 1, the government finally became adamant for it to be utilised to its fullest potential.

AirAsia’s New Home at KKIA Terminal 1?

In November the press was once again filled with news about an imminent AirAsia move to KKIA Terminal 1.

The news followed hot on the heals of AirAsia’s most recent, August 2015 refusal to move.

Probably unrelated, the news came shortly before AirAsia received the Minister’s Special Award at the 2015 Sabah Tourism Awards. In The ‘Best Airline’ category, the award “recognises AirAsia’s contribution to Sabah’s tourism industry in terms of connectivity and bringing the highest number of visitors to Sabah over the past two years.

AirAsia’s own official channels were conspicuously quiet about it all.

Only on 30 November, the day before the move and shortly after this article first went live, did AirAsia’s update their website with a front page notice, the new location in KK and a news article. Similarly, they Twitter  & Facebook accounts, which mentioned nothing up until yesterday afternoon, have also been updated with posts.

In spite of the lack of communications, AirAsia Kiosks sprouted at Terminal 1 well in advance, and the bland, unbranded email below was received on 30 November, presumably by all passengers flying to or from Kota Kinabalu in the not-too-distant future.

Effective 1st December 2015,  flights to / from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) by AirAsia Berhad Malaysia (with flight code AK) at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) will be operating via Terminal 1.  All flights scheduled to and from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) will remain the same and will not be affected by this terminal change.

And so it was that on 1 December 2015 AirAsia really finally moved to Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 1.

Read more about the facilities at on SabahBah’s Airport Information page.