Headlines

Citilink, Merpati, Batik
Air to move to Halim

Flight operations of three airlines will be moved to Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta to give more room for Soekarno-Hatta International Airport expansion, the state airport operator says.

Citilink, a unit of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia; ailing Merpati Nusantara Airlines and Lion Air’s full service airline Batik Air would have to run their operations from Halim from the beginning of 2013, said Tri Sunoko, president director of Angkasa Pura (AP) II.

“We have to move their operations to Halim to help smooth our job of expanding Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which has been operating overcapacity. We are currently studying the [Halim] airport thoroughly to accommodate more commercial flights next year,” Tri told The Jakarta Post.

The number of passengers passing through Soekarno-Hatta reached 51.1 million last year, more than 132 percent of its maximum capacity of 22 million passengers a year.

This year, the government expects the number to increase by 15 percent to 58.7 million due to high economic activity in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

AP II will launch the first phase of the country’s busiest airport expansion, in the second week of July, which will include the construction of a new apron that will enable the airport to park 40 wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 747 series, as well as the development of Terminal 3.

The firm hopes to significantly increase the capacity of Terminal 3 from the current 4 million passengers to 25 million passengers when the project is completed in 2014.

“We believe that every party will be able to work with us because Indonesia needs better infrastructure to help support its economic development,” Tri added.

Contacted separately, the affected airlines expressed their commitment to support AP II’s plan to temporarily move their operational activities to Halim.

Though understanding that the Soekarno-Hatta expansion could have an impact on many parties at the airport, Citilink senior vice president Arif Wibowo urged AP II to provide sufficient facilities to support the affected airlines.

“We will not find any problem in running our operational activities in Halim if there are sufficient facilities to accommodate us. Otherwise, it will bring more problems for the airlines,” Arif told the Post in a text message.

AP II intends to expand the annual passenger handling capacity of Soekarno-Hatta to 71 million in the next few years, in support of the government’s master plan for the acceleration and expansion of Indonesian economic growth (MP3EI).

The cost of the expansion program will exceed initial estimates of Rp 11.75 trillion (US$1.24 million). AP II is still determining the total investment that will be required for the entire development project.

The renovation has also affected the terminal used by haj pilgrims, leading the firm to build a terminal for haj pilgrims at Halim airport.

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