The central government, through Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, has given an ultimatum to the North Sumatra provincial administration to complete Kuala Namu Airport immediately so that is operational by next year.
Hatta said the government had decided in a limited meeting with relevant agencies in Jakarta recently that Kuala Namu Airport, which is located in Deli Serdang regency and will replace Polonia Airport in Medan, must be completed by 2012.
“Kuala Namu Airport must be completed by 2012 and not postponed again. It is the decision of the central government,” Hatta told reporters on the sidelines of a visit to Medan on Monday.
Hatta, who also chairs the National Mandate Party, was in Medan for only one day and returned to Jakarta on Tuesday. He attended two events while in Medan — to publicize Indonesia’s economic expansion development and acceleration master plan to students at the University of North Sumatra and inaugurated the 23rd Indonesian Employers Association working and coordinating meeting.
Hatta said completion of the Kuala Namu Airport was a top priority of the central government because the airport was expected to spur economic growth in Indonesia, especially in North Sumatra.
In regards to the acceleration of the airport construction, Hatta urged every stakeholder, including the provincial administration, to work together so it could be completed soon.
“There are still a few months remaining. The time must be utilized to complete it in time so it can be used in 2012,” he asserted.
North Sumatra legislative speaker Chaidir Ritonga warmly welcomed efforts by the central government to immediately complete the airport construction so it would be operational by next year.
According to Chaidir, the airport is important, since Polonia Airport is no longer viable as it is located in the heart of Medan city.
“The North Sumatra legislative council backs the central government’s efforts to operate Kuala Namu Airport by 2012,” Chaidir told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Chaidir said his council expected the airport to open without further delay.
Kuala Namu Airport was designed in 1994. Three years later, state-run airport management firm PT Angkasa Pura II acquired a 1,365-hectare plot of land from state-run plantation firm PT Perkebunan Nusantara II on which to build the airport.
The construction cost of the airport is being jointly borne by PT Angkasa Pura II and the central government. PT Angkasa Pura II has invested Rp 1.8 trillion ( about US$211.7 million ), while the central government earmarked around Rp 5.6 trillion for the project.
The airport, located 3.5 kilometers from the coastline, is designed to serve 8 million passengers annually. It is equipped with a 3,750-meter-long and 60-meter-wide runway and 33 aprons. As the second-biggest airport in Indonesia after Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, it will also be able to serve wide-body aircraft, such as the Airbus 380.