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Tawau Airport

Tawau Airport
Lapangan Terbang Tawau
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Malaysia
Operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
Serves Tawau Division, Sabah, East Malaysia
Location Tawau, Sabah, East Malaysia
Elevation AMSL 57 ft / 17 m
Coordinates 04°18′48″N 118°07′19″E / 4.31333°N 118.12194°E / 4.31333; 118.12194
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 2,682 8,800 Asphalt
Statistics (2008)
Passenger movements 768,967
Airfreight movements in tonnes 1,262
Aircraft movements 8,546
Sources: official web site and DAFIF

Tawau Airport (Malay : Lapangan Terbang Tawau) (IATA: TWU, ICAO: WBKW) is an airport located in Tawau, a town in the state of Sabah in Malaysia. It is the second airport in Sabah with immigration counters for international flights. The airport is 31 km from town. The new runway could cater for aircraft as big as Airbus series. The airport currently handles only domestic flights from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Kuala Lumpur. International flights to Tarakan in East Kalimantan, Indonesia are currently suspended.

Like other airports in the country, Tawau Airport is under the management of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

Tawau airport is the nearest airport to the diving islands of Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai.


Main Entrance

During the early days, Tawau airport was located on Jalan Utara, literally known as Northern road about 2 miles away from Tawau. The airport was officially opened in 1968 by the former Transport Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Haji Sardon. It was only used to cater to small aircraft, such as Fokker 50.

In the early 80's, Malaysia Airlines (MAS)'s Boeing 737 made a maiden flight to Tawau airport after the runaway had been broaden. It has been taking in flights from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Lahad Datu since then.

However on 15 September 1995, a Malaysian Airlines Fokker 50 from Kota Kinabalu touched down 500m before the end of the 2200m long runway. While attempting to carry out a go-around, the aircraft crashed into a Malay village, kampung Seri Menanti, causing 34 fatalities including two crews.

Earlier, on March 20, 1995 a Cessna Caravan cargo plane had also crashed into houses following a failed take-off. Another Boeing 737 plane was skidded off the runway in October 2001 without any causing any injuries to the passengers.

According to a survey, the old airport has one of the shortest runways in the country. Soon, a new international airport was in the government blue plan to shift Tawau airport to a new location along Tawau - Semporna highway, 30 km from Tawau.

The airport was subsequently opened to public in December 2001. In year 2003, Tawau Airport was officially launched by the former Transport Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik. Tawau Airport became the second largest airport in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu International Airport.


Tawau Airport is located at Balung, 3KM further in from airport highway. Tawau Airport was to be built as the most southeast international airport in Malaysia.

  • Runway

Tawau airport has a 2683m long fully service runway, namely runway 06 and runway 24. Runway 24 is equipped with Instrument Landing System(ILS) while runway 06 doesn't. The runway is long enough to cater wide-bodied aircraft.

  • Airport Terminal

The terminal is a one and a half stories building, which consists of 2 aerobridges, and its large appron can accommodate 7 aircraft at one time.

  • Car Park

Open air car park is provided with 500 parking lots.

  • Police Station

An airport police station is located just at the opposite of the main terminal building.

  • Taxi and Town Shuttle Bus Service

Taxi coupon or town shuttle bus ticket to Tawau or Semporna can be bought at the respective counters inside the terminal.

  • Traffic and Passenger Flow

In 2008, 768,967 passengers went through the airport with 8,546 aircraft movements.

Traffic and Statistics

Overall Operational Statistics
Years Passenger Movements Aircraft Movements Cargo Movements in Metric Tonnes Cargo Movements in Kilograms
2003 551,168 8,368 2,701 5,954
2004 620,847 8,900 2,968 6,543
2005 680,901 9,814 3,885 8,564
2006 660,331 9,215 3,030 6,679
2007 736,646 7,992 2,134 2,133,629
2008 768,967 8,546 1,262 1,262,197

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
AirAsia Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines operated by MASwings Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan

Cargo airlines

  • Transmile Air Services


  • Royal Malaysian Air Force

The above content comes from Wikipedia and is published under free licenses – click here to read more.

General Info
Country Malaysia
Time UTC+8
Latitude 4.313369
04° 18' 48.13" N
Longitude 118.121953
118° 07' 19.03" E
Elevation 57 feet
17 meters
Type Civil
Magnetic Variation 000° E (01/06)
Beacon Yes

TWR 122.5
GND 121.9
APP 123.55
Communications Remarks  
APP Two-way rdo com shall be estab with APP or twr prior to enter Tawau CTLZ.

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
06/24 8800 x 155 feet
2682 x 47 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VOR-DME VTW TAWAU 103X 115.6 1.3 NM 237.3
NDB TWU TAWAU - 278 1.6 NM 058.4

CSTMS/IMG CSTM 2200-1400Z. IMG on req.
FUEL Avbl 2200-1400Z; (NC-A1).

Thanks to: www.worldaerodata.com

The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
We don't guarantee the information is fresh and accurate. The data may be wrong or outdated.
For more up-to-date information please refer to other sources.

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