Located at the south eastern edge of Sabah, the airport serves as a hub for visitors to Malaysia's top dive islands.
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Present day Tawau Airport is located 31 kilometers north of Tawau, and is the main arrival point for air travellers destined for Sabah's famous islands, Sipadan Island, Mabul Island and Kapalai Island. Although Semporna is closer to the islands than Tawau and has an airport, no commercial flights land at at Semporna. As such, Tawau Airport sees a high volume of travellers compared to other airports of its size.
The airport offers flights from three airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia and MASwings. Both Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia fly to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, while MASwings flies to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. The airport does not offer flights to any international destination at present.
The airport building is a simple single storey structure that accomodates both arrival and departure halls. Facilities at the airport are limited, with only Automated Teller Machines, and a simple restaurant offered.
The airport's normal operating hours are between 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. In event of flight delays, the airport will remain open until the flight has taken off, or has been cancelled.
The airport is located north of Tawau, 31 kilometres away from the town centre. Coupons for taxi rides are available at the airport and the average fare between Tawau and the airport is RM45.
Shuttle bus service between the airport and Tawau or Semporna is available at the airport. Fare to Tawau is around RM10.