The Transportation Ministry supports the development of the Bintan Resort special airport on Bintan Island, Riau Islands, as this will increase competitiveness in the tourism sector, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The Ministry’s secretary general Afianti Samad said the airport would start operating in 2015 with a runway of some 2,600 meters allowing narrow-body aircraft such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s to land, tempo.co reported. Built on a 294-hectare plot of land, the special airport will allow foreign tourists to land directly at Bintan.
Bintan Resort International executive chairman, Brig. Gen. (ret) Chin Chow Yoon, said the company was investing some S$100 million (US$78.84 million) to build the airport in cooperation with Gallant Venture Ltd. The resort is a subsidiary of Gallant Venture.
Chin was upbeat that the special airport would increase the number of foreign tourists. There were 470,470 tourists visiting the resort in 2011 and it is expected the number will jump to 2 million in 2015.
The airport will be the first international special airport in Indonesia and will be able to accommodate airplanes with a flying range of five hours. The capacity will be increased to serve larger airplanes with a flying range of seven hours once it is operating properly.
The airport will be equipped with various facilities as at other international airports. “But this is a special airport, so the facilities will be limited,” Chin said.
Riau Islands Governor Muhammad Sani welcomed the airport presence which will help increase the number of foreign tourists to Riau Islands, especially to Bintan. There were 1.7 million tourists visiting Riau Islands in 2011 and the provincial administration expects the figure to reach 3 to 4 million once the airport is completed.
“The foreign tourists can stay two days in Riau Islands and one day in Singapore,” Sani said. “Currently tourists stay in Singapore longer than in Riau Islands.”
Currently the province has five airports with Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam being the largest, followed by Ranai Airport in Natuna and Raja Haji Fisabilillah in Tanjung Pingang. Two smaller airports are Dabo Airport in Singkep and Matak Airport in Matak. (nvn)