The Archipelago

Bandung airport upgraded
for wide planes

Husein Sastranegara Airport in Bandung, West Java, will receive its first wide-body aircraft on Tuesday despite that its new runway overlay is less than 50 percent complete.

Two Air Asia Airbus 320s serving routes from Singapore to Bandung, and Malaysia to Bandung, will land at the airport Tuesday.

The airport’s state-run airport management company PT Angkasa Pura II’s general manager Eko Diantoro said that the runway overlay currently stretched from Pavement Classification Number (PCN) 37 to PCN 52, which enabled wide-body aircraft with seat capacities of up to 180 to land.

“Starting Tuesday, Airbus A320 jetliners and other large planes can land at the airport after a long wait,” Eko told The Jakarta Post in Bandung on Monday.

The overlaying work on the 2,250-meter-long runway should have been completed in December last year but was delayed.

Eko said the construction work started in January and was scheduled to be completed in May this year. However, he added, AirAsia had shown enthusiasm to land their larger planes on the runway even though the runway overlay was only 45 percent complete.

AirAsia Indonesia managing director Dharmadi said his company had planned to operate additional flights from Singapore and Malaysia. AirAsia previously used Boeing 737-300 jetliners on the route, each with a capacity of 148 passengers.

“We wish to operate two return flights to Singapore and three return flights to Malaysia,” Dharmadi said.

AirAsia, which launched international flights to Bandung in 2004, was at one point suspended due to the impacts of the financial crisis in 1998.

Husein Sastranegara Airport was once one of Indonesia’s busiest airport, serving 150,000 passengers in 1999. However that number had dropped to 20,200 passengers by last year.

The airport currently serves about 2,300 domestic and international passengers daily. That number is expected to the increase by 30 percent as a result of the upgraded runway.

Eko said the new runway overlay had also drawn the attention of two other airlines — Firefly and Garuda.

West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan said he hoped additional new flights to Bandung would spur economic growth from tourism and trade.

“Bandung has become a destination for visitors from Singapore and Malaysia. The direct flights to Bandung should further support mobility between the two countries and Bandung,” Ahmad said.

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