Tangerang Municipal Government rejected a plan by the operator of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, PT Angkasa Pura II, proposing instead that the airport operator construct another airport somewhere else.
“Angkasa Pura II should just build a new airport in a new location, instead of expanding it, which is already over capacity now,” Tangerang deputy mayor Arief R. Wismansyah told reporters on Wednesday.
He said Angkasa Pura’s expansion plan would not be a lasting solution, as passengers would continue to flock and it would again be insufficient in a few more years.
Arief said that, despite expanding, such a situation would be even more chaotic.
Instead of spending Rp 11.7 trillion (US$1.38 billion) to expand, Angkasa Pura should invest in constructing a new airport in Tangerang, which has an abundant supply of unused land, Arief said.
He cited a 700-hectare plot now controlled by state-run oil company PT Pertamina in Balaraja.
Arief also said that, in its current location, Soekarno-Hatta Airport had minimal benefit for locals.
“Residents living around the airport are only bystanders who suffer from engine noise every day, and they don’t even get a chance to earn income for their family,” he added.
More than half of Soekarno-Hatta Airport’s 2,000 square hectares are located in Tangerang.
Responding to Arief, Angkasa Pura said the Tangerang Municipal Administration did not understand the complexity of the situation.
Angkasa Pura II corporate secretary Harry Chayono said on Wednesday that building a new airport would not be an easy task, as it required thorough study.
“We just aren’t considering constructing a new airport, but we do need a complete study on the project, which is beyond our capacity. It is the authority of the central government, who has the responsibility over the national transportation policy,” Harry told The Jakarta Post.
He said the recent plan to develop the airport was part of efforts to respond to criticism over the deteriorating service given by the airport.
“It is not easy to secure land for the project. Besides, there is still plenty of idle land we can develop inside the airport’s perimeter. If the number of passengers is already up to 65 million per year, we will likely build a new airport,” he added.
With the current development project, Angkasa Pura expects to be able to handle 62 million passengers per year. Currently, the airport handles 44.3 million passengers per year, twice its projected capacity.