Sultan Ismail Petra Airport

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Sultan Ismail Petra Airport
Lapangan Terbang Sultan Ismail Petra
Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, IATA, KBR, ICAO, WMKC.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Malaysia
Operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
Serves Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
Location Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan, West Malaysia
Time zone MST (UTC+08:00)
Elevation AMSL 16 ft / 5 m
Coordinates 06°09′58″N 102°17′33″E / 6.16611°N 102.29250°E / 6.16611; 102.29250Coordinates: 06°09′58″N 102°17′33″E / 6.16611°N 102.29250°E / 6.16611; 102.29250
WMKC is located in Peninsular Malaysia
Location on the east coast of Malaysia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10/28 2,400 7,874 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passenger 1,800,836 (Increase 13.6%)
Airfreight (tonnes) 397 (Increase 121.6%)
Aircraft movements 68,567 (Increase11.5%)
Sources: official website[1]
AIP Malaysia[2]

Sultan Ismail Petra Airport (IATA: KBRICAO: WMKC) is an airport that operates in Kota Bharu, a city in the state of Kelantan in Malaysia. The airport is named after Ismail Petra of Kelantan, the thirteenth Sultan of Kelantan, who ruled from 1980 to 2010. The present new terminal was officially opened in September 2002. The 12,000 m² airport terminal has three aircraft stands, three aerobridges and is able to handle maximum capacity 1.45 million passengers. The three aerobridges were salvaged from the old Subang Airport and refurbished. The airport consists of 9 check-in counters and offers flights between a total of seven domestic destinations from Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly, Malindo Air and Rayani Air. In 2014, this made it the busiest airport in the East Coast and 9th by passenger traffic with 1,800,836 passengers ( over maximum capacity ).


The airport is a former RAF Station, RAF Kota Bharu being a former British military airfield that has the dubious honour of being the landing site of the Japanese invasion of Malaya during World War II. The scene of the first Japanese landing in Malaya on 8 December 1941.

After the war, the RAF military airfield was turned into a civilian airport. The passenger terminal was built and was known as Pengkalan Chepa Airport. After the terminal was expanded and a new building was built, it became known as Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, currently known as the old terminal of the Asia Pacific Flight Training flying school. In 1999, the government announced that the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport will be relocated to a new terminal building. The project started in September 2000 and was completed in June 2002 with a total cost of approximately RM55 million.

Relocating to the new building[edit]

The new terminal started operating from 12 September 2002. The building of Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kota Bharu is synonymous with the Islamic image of the state. This new terminal adopted the Moorish architecture. It has curved archways and is whiter in colour. The airport has a 12,000 square metre terminal with three aircraft stands and the most modern and technically advanced navigational aids. It has three aerobridges were salvaged from the old Subang Airport and refurbished, the terminal can accommodate up to 1.45 million passengers a year.

The new terminal of the airport is equipped with all of the modern facilities and services to meet the requirements of the innumerable travelers flying to and from the airport every day. The basic services available include information and customer service desk, medical services, wheelchair services for disabled travelers, police services and others. There are also porter services to help travelers with their luggage.

The major facilities that are found in this airport include shuttle and car rental representative counters (Hertz, Avis, Kayak, Expedia and J&W car rental), automated teller machines, currency exchange, gift shops, a KFC restaurant and small eating joints. There are waiting rooms for the convenience of the travelers and one can also find bathrooms specially designed for disabled travelers.

Expansion and developments[edit]

In the third quarter of 2008, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad built a new hangar, a new apron, new aircraft and helicopter parking bays and made taxiway improvements to cater to the growth of the Asia Pacific Flight Training flying school.

In October 2008, the government announced that it intends to extend the runway to a length of 2,400 m (7,874 ft). The Sultan Ismail Petra Airport serves Kota Bharu in Malaysia.

In May 2010, TRC Synergy Bhd’s unit, Trans Resources Corp Sdn Bhd has secured a RM45.5 million contract to upgrade the Sultan Ismail Petra airport in Kota Bharu. TRC said its unit received the letter of acceptance from Wira Akil Holdings Sdn Bhd. The letter of acceptance from Wira Akil is subsequent to an award being given by the Ministry of Transport to Wira Akil whereby TRC is named as the sub-contractor for the project. The project started on 14 June 2010 and includes the construction of a taxiway, helicopter pads, a meteorological station and instrument landing system (ILS). The airport runway has been lengthened from 1,981 m to 2,400 m, and can accommodate the Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A330. All works are slated for completion by September 2011.

In July 2015, Malaysia Airports is planning for the expansion Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kelantan, which has already exceeded its 1.5 million capacity. The building will be expanded to cater to four million passengers with a new multi-storey car park and additional aircraft stands (aerobridge) to cope with the expected increase in traffic in the coming decade.

In 2016 Malaysian federal budget ( presented October 2015 ), Prime Minister announcement RM450 million for upgrading work under The Eleventh Malaysian Plan (Malay: Rancangan Malaysia ke-11) (2016–2020). Works include apron expansion, enlargement runway/taxiway and the terminal. The process is expected to be implemented in the second half of 2016. The amount approved for 2016 is RM30 million.[3]

Operating hours[edit]

The airport's normal operating hours are between 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. In the event of flight delays, the airport will remain open until the flight has taken off or has been cancelled.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
AirAsia Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuching
Firefly Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur–Subang, Langkawi, Penang
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur–Subang
Rayani Air Kuala Lumpur–International

Traffic and statistics[edit]

Annual passenger numbers and aircraft statistics[4]
% Change
% Change
% Change
2003 589,950 Steady 315 Steady 10,010 Steady
2004 639,871 Increase8.5 235 Decrease25.4 11,869 Increase 18.6
2005 635,397 Decrease0.7 168 Decrease28.5 11,194 Decrease 5.7
2006 678,306 Increase6.7 210 Increase25.0 38,352 Increase 242.6
2007 759,316 Increase12.0 163 Decrease22.4 58,996 Increase 53.8
2008 836,060 Increase10.1 181 Increase11.0 57,102 Decrease 3.2
2009 1,003,162 Increase20.0 185 Increase2.2 74,863 Increase 31.1
2010 1,047,755 Increase4.4 177 Decrease4.3 75,906 Increase 1.4
2011 1,132,345 Increase8.1 164 Decrease7.3 64,114 Decrease 15.5
2012 1,259,205 Increase11.2 147 Decrease10.4 50,991 Decrease 20.5
2013 1,585,238 Increase25.9 179 Increase21.8 50,406 Decrease 1.1
2014 1,800,836 Increase 13.6 397 Increase 121.6 44,628 Decrease 11.5

Sources : MAHB Annual Report 2014-2015


Busiest Flights Out of Sultan Ismail Petra Airport by Weekly Frequency January 2016
Rank Destinations Frequency (Weekly) Airlines
1  Selangor ( Subang ) 138 FY, OD
2  Kuala Lumpur ( KLIA ) 80 AK, MH, RN
5  Penang 14 FY
4  Johor 5 FY
5  Kedah ( Langkawi ) 3 FY
6  Sabah 3 AK
7  Sarawak 3 AK

Sources : Official airlines websites schedule (17–23 January 2016) departures from KBR. Malaysia Airlines code share schedule with fireflyz.

Charter operators[edit]

MHS Aviation[edit]

  • MHS Aviation is recognized as the leading provider of helicopter charter services in Sultan Ismail Petra Airport. Specializing in the movement of personnel, ferrying workers to and from offshore production platforms, equipment to and from the offshore installation and drilling rigs mainly for oil companies in the Malaysia-Thailand joint development area, South China Sea.

Weststar Aviation[edit]

Ground transportation[edit]

Airport taxi[edit]

At the Sultan Ismail Petra airport, there is an airport taxi service which imposes a fixed rate based on the destination's distance from the airport, which is located at the outside of the Arrival Hall. In the city centre, the taxi service located in Taxi Station, Jalan Doktor can be used which is a 20-minute journey (The fare is between RM35 and RM40 as of June 2011).


Bus that provides transportation to the city centre is also available from the terminal. The bus stop is, however, located outside the terminal building area at the main road side. The airport is located 8 km away from the city centre. In the city centre, the bus station is located at Jalan Pendek. (Fare RM2.00, hourly from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, duration c. 20–30 minutes).

At Kota Bharu Central Bus Station, you can take another bus to various destinations within the city centre and the state.

To Perhentian Islands[edit]

Sultan Ismail Petra Airport is the closest airport to Perhentian Islands. Located approximately 60 kilometers from Kuala Besut, the main getaway to the islands, tourists can get there with various public transport modes that are readily available at the airport.

  • Taxi: Taxi services can easily be found here. Each one can take passengers directly to the jetty at Kuala Besut, the getaway to Perhentian Islands. Fare should be around RM 80.00 to RM 100.00 per taxi (4 passengers maximum) with the journey normally takes around 1 to 1 1/2 hour.
  • Bus: If arriving at the airport not too late in the afternoon, taking the public bus to get to Kuala Besut jetty is another option. It's cheaper but takes longer time. First, catch the bus number 9 from the bus stop just outside the terminal building to Kota Bharu Central Bus Station. Fare is RM 2.00 and the journey takes about half an hour, operates from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. From there, find bus number 639 heading to Kuala Besut and get on it. The journey on the 639 bus to the jetty is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes and the fare is around RM 6.00. The 639 bus leaves from Kota Bharu Central Bus Station at 6:15 am, 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:30 am, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm every day.

To Rantau Panjang and Southern Thailand[edit]

Rantau Panjang is the border town to Thailand in Malaysia side. The border town on Thailand side, adjacent to Rantau Panjang, is Sungai Kolok. International border formality is required to get to Southern Thailand.

  • Bus: If arriving at the airport not too late in the afternoon, take bus number 9 to Kota Bharu Central Bus Station. From there, take another bus number 29 heading to Rantau Panjang. The 29 bus leaves every half an hour from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm and the journey to Rantau Panjang is around an hour from Kota Bharu Central Bus Station.


Accidents and incidents[edit]

29 December 2011 : A training aircraft, owned by Asia Pacific Flight Training crashed when landing at Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, 2 people were killed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kota Bharu at Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
  2. ^ "AIP Supplement Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "MAHB Annual Report 2014" (PDF). 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 

External links[edit]