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Today's airport replaced in 2001 the old airfield in the urban area Tawaus. Around one million passengers per year. After the airport of Kota Kinabalu Tawau is the second largest airport in Sabah.
The only passenger terminal is equipped with two passenger boarding bridges. On the apron can park at the same time up to seven single-aisle aircraft.
In 1968, the first airfield Tawaus only about three kilometers from the city center to the operation. The former Transport Minister Tan Sri Haji Sardon inaugurated the airfield, which was designed with only a 2.2 km long airstrip for aircraft up to the size of a Fokker 50.
After they had widened the runway, Malaysia Airlines undertook the early 80s a maiden flight with a Boeing 737 Since then, the airline introduced daily flights with the same machines by.
The airport was one because of its short runway of the most dangerous and most difficult airports in the world and could only be approached with specific training and licensing.
End of the 90s there were several incidents. The worst occurred on 15 September 1995. A jury of 53 persons Fokker 50 of Malaysian Airlines (MAS ) from Kota Kinabalu crashed into the situated at the end of the runway district Kampung Seri Menanti. 34 people, including two crew members were killed.
It accelerated the plans for the construction of a new airport in the palm oil plantations, about 31 kilometers east of the city.
The new airport was in December 2001. 2003 gave the Malaysian Transport Minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik the new public airport.
The large airport area is surrounded by palm oil plantations. The passenger terminal is long by a three-kilometer, four-lane highway connected to the Tawau - Semporna highway.
The two-storey passenger building is equipped with two glazed passenger boarding bridges, eleven check- in counters and two baggage claim belts.
On the rectangular apron can park at the same time up to seven single-aisle aircraft. It is connected by two taxiways to the runway.
The airport area is planned so that the infrastructural facilities can be extended without much effort. Parallel space for one to start and runway, taxiway is available.