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Key M'sian airport resumes night operations

Publication Date : 27-10-2012


Malaysia’s second busiest airport resumed night operations at about 10pm yesterday with a dozen aircraft landing and taking off shortly after some of the runway lights were repaired.

Earlier, the runway of Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) remained dark for a second straight night as engineers raced to install portable lights to allow planes to land and take off.

The airport authorities had sought the assistance of the Royal Malaysian Air Force which flew in a team to help install the temporary portable lights along the runway. It was installed by 9:30pm.

Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB) and its engineers had been trying to figure out what triggered the runway lights to black out since 6:20pm on Thursday, leaving at least 4,000 passengers stranded with 40 flights cancelled, delayed or diverted.

The runway was opened for flights in the morning but was shut down after 6:30pm yesterday due to failing light.

“We do not know what caused the fault,” said an airport official.

The official said it could be due to an internal cable or circuit fault and had nothing to do with power supply from Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun demanded that both the MAB and Department of Civil Aviation explain the latest fiasco to hit the airport.

Masidi said MAB was unable to provide answers to the runway light problem and did not know when it would be rectified.

“This is an issue of great concern to Sabah. This should wake up those in authority. The Transport Ministry and MAB must ensure it does not happen again.

“It is not just about repairing the lights. There are many other issues involving the airport,” he said.

As the busiest airport in the country after Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Masidi said it was unthinkable that the airport did not have a back-up plan for the runway lighting system.

Airport officials said the lighting problem had occurred in the past but they were not serious.

They said the runway extension project had been delayed for more than two years.


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