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Kota Kinabalu International Airport (“KKIA”; IATA code “BKI”; ICAO code “WBKK”) is the second busiest airport in Malaysia. Located approximately 8 km from Kota Kinabalu city center, it is the main gateway to Sabah. The history of KKIA dated back to the World War II era – it was built by the Japanese for military purposes, known as “Jesselton Airfield”. However, the airfield was severely damaged during World War II. After the end of the war, it was surrendered to Malaysian authority who subsequently upgraded and renovated the airport in stages.

There are 2 terminals at the airport. Terminal 1 serves international flights as well as domestic flights by Malaysia Airlines; while Terminal 2 serves charter carriers and low cost carriers such as AirAsia. Facilities at the airport include food & beverages outlets, locker storage, baggage wrapping, money changers, ATMs, as well as duty-free shopping.

How to travel between KKIA and Kota Kinabalu city

By Taxi:

This is probably the most convenient and reliable way to travel. Passengers need to purchase a taxi coupon from the “Airport Taxi” counter near arrival hall, and submit the coupon to the taxi driver. A one-way taxi ride from KKIA to the city center costs RM30, and up to 4 passengers are allowed in a taxi. Passengers can arrange with the taxi driver for their return trip from the city center to KKIA.

By Minibus:

Minibus 17 (for Terminal 1) and Minibus 16A (for Terminal 2) costs RM1.50 one-way. The drop off and pickup point at Kota Kinabalu is the bus terminal next to Wawasan Plaza, which is approximately 1 km away from the city center. Pickup point at Terminal 1 is next to the footbridge, while at Terminal 2 is outside the first entrance at the north. Although much cheaper than taxi, minibuses are known for their long waiting time, limited and irregular trips.

By car rental:

Adventurous passengers can rent cars and drive around in the city center. Car rental companies available at the airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt. Daily rental ranges from RM100 – RM650. Note that Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are located at 2 different ends of the airport. Terminal 1 is accessible from Jalan Kepayan, Jalan Lintas, and Jalan Putatan. Terminal 2 is accessible from Jalan Mat Salleh.

Airlines served by KKIA:

  • AirAsia
  • AirAsia Zest
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Cebu Pacific
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Dragonair
  • Eastar Jet
  • Hong Kong Express Airways
  • Indonesia AirAsia
  • Jin Air
  • Korean Air
  • Malaysia Airlines