Lapangan Terbang Tawau
|Owner||Government of Malaysia|
|Operator||Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad|
|Location||Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia|
|Time zone||MST (UTC+08:00)|
|Elevation AMSL||57 ft / 17 m|
Tawau Airport (Malay: Lapangan Terbang Tawau) (IATA: TWU, ICAO: WBKW) is an airport located 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi) north east of Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia. It is one of two airports in Sabah with immigration counters for international flights, the other being Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Tawau Airport serves the districts of Tawau, Kunak and Semporna and is the nearest airport to the diving islands of Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai, all of which are located in the latter district.
The old Tawau Airport was located on Jalan Utara (Malay for 'Northern Road'), about 2 mi (3.2 km) outside Tawau. It was officially opened in 1968 by the then Transport Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Haji Sardon. It could only cater to small aircraft such as the Fokker 27.
By the early 80s, the airport received its first Boeing 737 flight operated by Malaysia Airlines following the newly extended runway. The airport also witnessed regional international destinations to Tarakan, Balikpapan and Makassar in Indonesia by Bouraq Indonesian Airlines and Merpati Nusantara Airlines during that period due to the geographical proximity and close socio-economic ties between Tawau and the main eastern Indonesian urban areas.
On 15 September 1995, Malaysia Airlines Flight 2133, a flight from Kota Kinabalu operated by a Fokker 50 aircraft, touched down 500 m (1,600 ft) before the end of the 2,200 m (7,218 ft)-long runway. While attempting a go-around, the aircraft crashed into a shantytown known as Kampung Seri Menanti. There were 34 fatalities, including two crewmembers. In October 2001, another Malaysia Airlines flight (this one operated by a Boeing 737-400) skidded off the runway without causing any injuries or fatalities.
A survey found that the old Tawau Airport had one of the shortest runways in Malaysia. The airport's runway would need to be extended (or a new airport built) to safely accommodate larger aircraft. In view of this, the government announced plans to construct a new airport to be located in the Balung area, approximately 30 km (19 mi) east of downtown Tawau along the Tawau – Semporna highway.
The new Tawau Airport was opened to the public in December 2001. In 2003, it was officially opened by the then Transport Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik. With a capacity of over 1.8 million passengers per annum, it is the second largest airport in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu International Airport. In 2008, 768,967 passengers passed through the airport and there were 10,546 aircraft movements.
At present, Tawau Airport has a 2,685 m × 47 m (8,809 ft × 154 ft)-long runway, namely runway 06/24. Runway 24 is equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS). The 1 1⁄2-storey terminal building is equipped with two aerobridges. The airport can accommodate eight aircraft at any given time, and its car park can accommodate 500 vehicles. In addition, there is a police station opposite the terminal building.
On the arrivals floor, there are counters at which passengers may purchase coupons for airport taxis or tickets for shuttle buses to downtown Tawau.
Airlines and destinations
|AirAsia||Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuching|
|Malaysia Airlines||Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur–International|
| Malaysia Airlines |
operated by MASwings
|Malindo Air||Kota Kinabalu|
|AsiaCargo Express||Kuala Lumpur–International|
Traffic and statistics
|Source: Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad|
|1||Kota Kinabalu, Sabah||56|
|2||Kuala Lumpur, Selangor||49|
|4||Johor Bahru, Johor||7|
- Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
- Far East Air Force (Royal Air Force)
- List of former Royal Air Force stations
- Tawau Airport, Sabah at Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
- WBK - TAWAU at Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia
- "Plane Overshoots Runway, Crashes, Killing 34 People". 16 September 1995. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
- Aircraft accident Fokker 50 9M-MGH Tawau Airport (TWU) on 15 Sep 1995
- Hello Tawau
- "Malaysia Airports: Airports Statistics 2018" (PDF). malaysiaairports. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tawau Airport.|