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Kuala Namu airport to become
regional hub

When complete, Kuala Namu International Airport in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, will be a major regional airport hub that can compete with Changi International Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, an official says.

Tri Sunoko, the president director of state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II (AP II), which will operate the airport, said that the company would be helped by South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation to achieve its target.

Under the terms of an agreement signed in Jakarta on Monday, Incheon will provide assistance ranging from management expertise to infrastructure technology to develop Kuala Namu airport to meet world-class standards.

“We are cooperating with Incheon because it has been named the best airport in the world and we can learn a lot from them,” Tri said. “This partnership will surely improve facilities and management in Kuala Namu as well as help Angkasa Pura II to become a world-class airport operator.”

Tri made his comments after signing the agreement with Incheon chief C.W. Lee.

Under the agreement, Incheon and Kuala Namu will become sister airports.

Kuala Namu, currently under construction on 1,365 hectares, has been designed to accommodate 8.1 million passengers a year.

When construction is complete by the end of 2012, Kuala Namu will replace Polonia International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, which has been operating over capacity.

The new airport will feature a 3,750-meter runway and 33 aprons, and will be equipped to accommodate wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus A380.

The airport will commence operation in early 2013.

Polonia airport which is located at the heart of Medan, accommodated 6.2 million passengers in 2011, more than 563 percent of its rated capacity of 1.1 million people a year.

The cost of to build Kuala Namu has been budgeted at Rp 10.6 trillion (US$1.23 billion), which will be paid by AP II and the central government under its Acceleration and Expansion of the Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI) program.

“Geographically, it [Kuala Namu] is a perfect location to serve as a hub for international flights because it connects Indonesia to the world,” Sunoko said.

Sunoko said that AP II planned to expand Kuala Namu into a world-class airport that could compete Singapore’s Changi and Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport as an international hub in the long run.

 “This is part of our effort to address the ASEAN Open Sky Policy in 2015. We are still conducting a study on the [Kuala Namu] expansion project,” he added.

Meanwhile, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten, will continue to be a hub for domestic flights in the country.

For international flights, Soekarno-Hatta would provide international connections to Australia and New Zealand, he said.

Meanwhile, Lee expressed a commitment to improve Kuala Namu airport.

“We believe that we can work together very well to make it an international airport hub. We will also share our knowledge and experience on how to grab China and Japan market share in Incheon,” Lee told reporters.

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