Kota Kinabalu Airport and its Terminals

Travelling to Sabah? It means that you are going to access Kota Kinabalu International Airport with its facilities. As the name suggests, this international airport is located in the capital of Sabah, a state in Malaysia. The location isn’t so far away from the (southwestern area of the) city centre. Since it is only 8 kilometres away, you won’t have any difficulty going to or from the airport.

About the International Airport

bandara kinabalu

This airport is Malaysia’s second busiest airport after Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The place isn’t excessively big. It is medium in size with good connections to Kota Kinabalu City as well as aviation hubs of other Asia-Pacific regions. It is the gateway to Borneo Island as well as Sabah state.

There are two terminals in the airport but they are separated – it takes several driving minutes (try 10 minutes) to connect the two. Terminal 1 is bigger and newer so it handles the majority of air traffic. It was opened in 2008 and you can find dining venues and also shopping spots there. Terminal 2, on the other hand, is older and it caters to low-cost flight services and charter fights.

Terminal 1


As it was mentioned before, this is the newer terminal that acts as the main spot. Domestic and International flights are joined together – you just have to find the section. You can access the terminal through Jalan Lintas, Jalan Putatan, and Jalan Kepayan. The main air flight service is Malaysia Airlines. You can find these facilities when coming to the terminal:

  • Check-in counters
  • X-ray machines
  • 36 immigration counters that are set up like this: 20 for arrivals and 16 for departures
  • Parking Bays
  • Aerobridges

The Arrival Hall is located on the ground floor while Departure Halls (for both foreign and domestic) and the check-in counters are located on the second floor. On the first floor, you can find local departures and airline offices.

Terminal 2


This is the original building when the airport was first founded. It is situated on the other side (of the runway) from Terminal 2. One of the airlines serving in this terminal is Air Asia. You can access it through Jalan Mat Salleh located in Tanjung Aru. Just like in Terminal 1, you can also find Domestic and International Departure Halls, as well as Arrival Halls on this building. Basically, the structure and facilities are similar to Terminal 1 but Terminal is smaller. The airline services operating in Terminal 2 include Layang-Layang, Weststar, Raya Airways, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, TigerAir, and JetStar.

Basically, there are the airline services that are operating on both terminals: Air Seoul, China Eastern, Royal Brunei Airlines, Silkair, Xiamen Air, Thai AirAsia, Air Busan, Jeju Air, Spring Airlines, Philippines AirAsia, Lucky Air, Jin Air, Scoot, and Malindo Air. To get further details about which service is operating in which terminal, you should check the official website or make a call to the airport.



Although the overall reviews and feedback about the airport are pretty good, be ready for some unexpected condition. You can’t find free WiFi access at Terminal 2 although you can go to the KFC or go to the internet cafe to get the connection. It is around 5 RM for an hour of service. There is no information about Terminal 1 although some people say that free WiFi is available there.

What if you have to spend a night at the airport? Well, you can do it in Terminal 1. Just find armrest-free seats or benches (generally at KFC upstairs or the ground floor) and you can sleep. The ground floor is busier but it is cooler while the one upstairs is quieter but warmer. It would be a good idea to bring eye masks and ear-plugs or headphones so you can sleep comfortably.

Read also: Climbing Guide to Mount Kinabalu Malaysia

Plan your flight with Airpaz as you can choose a suitable air carrier that you want like Air Asia or Malaysia Airlines with the service.


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