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Indonesia's first ‘floating’ airport eyed

Publication Date : 19-06-2014

 

Ahmad Yani International Airport in Semarang, Central Java, is set to become Indonesia’s first “floating” airport, with its new passenger terminal being built on a platform on water as part of an expansion project.

Tommy Soetomo — president director of state-run airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I, which manages airports in the eastern part of the country — explained that the expansion would allow the airport to accommodate up to 7 million passengers annually, up from 3.2 million as of the end of 2013.

“The airport has been facing capacity-related problems for a while now. People even line up to use the restrooms. Hopefully, this new development will improve the airport’s services,” Tommy said at the development groundbreaking event at the airport on Tuesday.

The redevelopment is targeted to be completed in three stages over the course of two years, with an investment of 1.5 trillion rupiah (US$126 million).

When completed, the airport will boast new and improved facilities and is projected to meet a 16 per cent incrase in passenger volume annually.

In the airport’s development, parts of the complex will be built over water, such as the expansion of the apron above a shrimp farm.

Among the facilities that will be developed are the runway, which will be extended to 72,552 square metres, and the apron, which will be improved to accommodate wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus A330 and the Boeing 767.

According to Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, the airport’s development has experienced many delays.

“It took four governors to finally get the project off the ground. Now it is finally being built and I hope that the next governor will not have to deal with this again,” he said.

He is also hoping that more direct international flights will be accommodated, to boost economic activity.

“Specifically, a direct international flight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, would be beneficial. Also, the airport should serve more direct domestic flights to cater to the needs of students and medical tourists that visit Semarang,” he added.

Furthermore, Angkasa Pura I has signed an operational cooperation agreement with the Indonesian Army, which owns the land that the airport is situated on, promising profit shares and dual management for the next 30 years.

However, Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said that the military would have to retain its usage of Ahmad Yani airport, just as it utilises various other airports in Java for different factions of the military.

“Ahmad Yani is a hub for Army activity, just like Yogyakarta’s Adisutjipto [International] Airport is for the Air Force and Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport is for the Navy,” he said.

Transportation Minister EE Mangindaan explained that the new revamped airport would be able to help reduce congestion at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, thanks to its strategic location in Central Java.

Currently, Ahmad Yani airport is serviced by nine domestic airlines, including national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia-based low-cost carrier AirAsia.

 

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