The expansion of Sultan Syarif Kasim ( SSK ) II International Airport in Pekanbaru is expected to be completed in 2014 or one year ahead of schedule despite a pending land dispute.
The project commenced in 2010 with a budget of Rp 2 trillion ( US$205 million ), which derived from the national budget ( APBN ), Riau regional budget ( APBD ) and state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II's budget.
The entire budget will be used for aviation facilities including its apron, to lengthen the runway and to smoothen the land acquisition process.
The new passenger terminals were completed in July last year to welcome the 2012 National Games ( PON ).
'The first phase of the airport's apron expansion, situated on the former passenger terminal, is almost finished. Only a few finishing touches remain,' said SSK II Operational Services Manager Hasturman Yunus recently.
The second stage of the expansion project, he continued, would kick off in June. The apron's total area would be 58,410 square meters and it would accommodate up to 13 Boeing 737-900 aircraft or 8 Boeing 737-900 aircraft, plus two Boeing 747 aircraft.
The previous apron only accommodated up to seven Boeing 737-900 aircraft. 'We also demolished old office buildings to expand the apron's area so it would be able to accommodate more aircraft from and to Pekanbaru. The new apron will be in operation next year,' Hasturman said.
Besides the apron expansion, it is expected that SSK II will also be equipped with a new cargo building, bigger parking lots and an extended runway measuring 2,600 meters from the current 2,240-meter-long runway. The runway will also have a parallel taxiway, which will help reduce runway occupancy time.
The development of the aforementioned facilities, however, has reportedly hampered the unsettled land acquisition process involving local residents.
The administration was only able to acquire 3 hectares of land, around 51 percent of the total planned area. As a result, PT Angkasa Pura II has yet to resume the cargo and runway projects.
'The land dispute has been brought to the court. We hope the court will announce the verdict this year so we can immediately begin the construction,' said Hasturman.
'As for the land for the extended runway, the Riau administration is still negotiating the issue with the land owner,' he added.
After completing the infrastructure, PT Angkasa Pura II is set to build an additional passenger terminal. The current terminal has a total area of 25,779 square meters designed with a capacity of 4 million passengers per year, while the new terminal would be 34,379 square meters with a capacity of 8 million passengers per year.
The extension of the terminal is unavoidable as passenger numbers have continued to increase over the past two years.
In 2012, SSK II served more than 2,797,800 passengers, an increase of 11.86 percent from the previous year.
This year, it is predicted that the airport could see a 25 percent increase in passengers compared to last year.
Besides the rising number of domestic flights, Hasturman said, the airport has also seen an a rise of international flights as there are increasingly more people flying to Singapore and Malaysia for medical treatment.
'As of now, our terminal can serve up to 80 flights per day. We currently serve more than 70 flights per day on a normal day. We predict that the terminal would face overcapacity in the next two or three years,' he continued.