Monday, January 3, 2011


Along with Indonesia’s economic growth which is expected to exceed 6% this year, the country’s air transportation has grown commensurately at a very rapid pace between 15%-20% per annum. If in 2004, Indonesian airlines handled 23.7 million passengers, this increased to 43.8 million in 2009, at an 82% average airline load factor. Among these, private airlines carried 80% share of total passengers. With increased competition, domestic airfares have also dropped, thereby opening access to wider segments of income groups, wrote Danang Parikesit, Chairman of Indonesia’s Transportation Society in Bisnis Indonesia.

As consequence of such rapid growth, airports have fast exceeded the capacity for which they were originally built. Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta international airport, which was constructed 20 years ago with its open green gardens and envisaged to handle 22 million passengers per year, must today handle no less than 40 million passengers. While the Juanda airport in Surabaya, originally built to handle 6 million passengers, already handles 11 million today. Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport which was built for 1.5 million passengers, today handles 9.5 million per year. The same situation is in Medan with its Polonia airport, which was built to cater to 0.9 million people, must now handle 4.9 million. The only international airport that is within its capacity is the Sultan Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar, which was built for 7 million passengers, but today receives 5 million per year, reports Bisnis Indonesia.

With Indonesia’s expected accelerated economic growth next year, it is obvious that these airports must be expanded very soon, other additional supporting airports built in the vicinity, or other solutions found.

Therefore, in Bali, a new terminal is being constructed with an investment of Rp. 1.9 trillion, which is expectd to be operational by March 2013, giving ample time before the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Coooperation) Summit in 2013. When completed, the airport will have a total capacity of handling 15 million passengers per year.
On 27 December, the Ministry of Transportation signed an MoU with the Miinistry of Culture and Tourism to build a 565 km. railway system around Bali to spread tourism more evenly throughout the island, work on which is to begin in January 2011.
Minister for Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, said that this year alone more than 2.3 million visitors or 30% of total tourist arrivals to Indonesia spent their holidays on Bali. While Bali Governor Mangku Pastika estimates that by 2015, Bali will receive 5 million tourists, so that infrastructure needed must be built urgently.
While in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, the government plans to re-operate the old Juanda airport.

In Medan,North Sumatra, the new Kuala Namu international airport is in construction, since Polonia airport is anyhow already too close to the city. The government has also opened the tender for the construction of the 60 km toll road between Medan and the new Kuala Namu airport.

While, for the capital city Jakarta, one supporting airport to the Soekarno-Hatta international airport is the Halim Perdanakusumah airport, which is an Air Force base and is primarily used for VIP planes or at times serves as an emergency back-up airport. The national government is looking at the Pondok Cabe training airport to expand into a commercial airport, but the provncial government of Jakarta is reported to be against this plan.

Meanwhile, therefore, for Jakarta, in order to ease traffic congestion in the air as well as for better passengers handling on the ground, the government plans to review flight slots at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport. Golden time periods for airlines here are between 5.0 am to 9.0 am in the mornings and between 4.0 pm and 8.0 pm in the evenings. During these times the airport handles near to 60 flights an hour, reports Bisnis Indonesia. Therefore, the authorities plan to spread out arrival and departure times of planes. This measure, however, has the airlines very concerned , hoping that slots will be distributed fairly among all airlines.

Meantime, Jakarta’s airport at peak time today too often resembles a busy railway station which is jammed with people, and is far from looking like a distinguished nternational airport that a capital city deserves.
Earlier, reported that Vice President Boediono had held a coordinating meeting in October on national transportation. Among issued discussed was the need for improved management of airports and additional infrastructure urgently required to cater to the soaring number of passengers that airports must handle today. In this context it was decided that Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport will be added with two runways and one more terminal
To ensure the safety of air, land and sea transportation the Committee for Transport Safety (KNKT) will be directly accountable to the President and no longer directly to the Minister for Transportation.
Furthermore, Regulations will be drawn whereby airlines must use e-ticketing. Its implementation will be discussed with the airlines.
Additionally, it must be ensured that all airport runways, aprons and terminal are sterile from unauthorized personne and passengers’ waiting areas freed from touts, and unauthorized sales persons.
While in order to ensure air safety, the government will form a separate company in charge of air navigation so that this will no longer be the responsibility of the airport authority.
(Sources: Bisnis Indonesia, )

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