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.
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.
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.
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.
Open air car park is provided with 500 parking lots.
An airport police station is located just at the opposite of the main terminal building.
Taxi coupon or town shuttle bus ticket to Tawau or Semporna can be bought at the respective counters inside the terminal.
In 2008, 768,967 passengers went through the airport with 8,546 aircraft movements.
Traffic and Statistics
Airlines and destinations
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