Since the designation of the land for airport use in the early 1970s to handle Miri's ever-increasing air traffic, the Miri Airport has seen several expansions and upgrades over the decades.
Nowadays the only gateway into Miri by plane flights, the Miri Airport also provides the only way for quick access Mulu and is an important gateway to the northern region of Sarawak.
Miri Airport currently has one runway, upgraded in the early 2000s to a 2,745 m (9,006 ft) runway. Approaches from the north the runway is equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS) and high intensity simple approach lights whereas approaches from the south, the runway has high intensity Cat 1 precision approach lights installed. Three airlines serve Miri airport as of 2015, namely Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, and MASwings.
The upgrade also included the Miri Airport terminal, which was also rebuilt at the in the early 2000s, in order to handle more traffic. The new two-storey terminal building is able to handle up to 2 million passenger per annum, but the terminal has been operating beyond its designed limits since 2012. The VIP lounge, previously located in another building off the main terminal, are now located within the new terminal building. This resulted in disruptions to the terminal lane whenever VIPs arrive.
Critics have mentioned the puzzling decision on 'replacing' the only airport terminal rather than 'expand' to have Terminal 2, and only then refurnishing the original Terminal.
Miri Airport now handles offshore oil platform flights that were previously handled by Lutong Airport.
Miri Airport used to be the second largest airport in Sarawak for a significant amount of time after Kuching International Airport. It lost this title to Sibu Airport in July 2012 after Sibu Airport terminal upgrade had finished.
Miri Airport caters flights to the interiors of Sarawak such as Mulu, Bario, Ba'kelalan, Marudi, Lawas, Limbang, and Mukah through MASwings using the DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft meant for landing in small unpaved airstrips.
On 6 September 1997, a Royal Brunei Airlines Flight 238, crashed just before final approach of the runway at Miri Airport into dense jungle. All 10 persons on board that flight were killed.