The Jakarta Post
The much-anticipated opening of Kuala Namu International Airport in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, is scheduled for July 25, says an airport operator.
The future Rp 5.5 trillion ( US$554.2 million ) airport will replace the overcrowded Polonia Airport, which has been used for 85 years.
State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II ( AP II ) says the firm recently finished a trial operation of the airport that began in February.
'We are currently working on some finishing touches, such as small details in operational activities that we need to improve,' AP II operation director Endang A. Sumiarsa said on Thursday, adding the company also promoted the new airport to local people and those living in other provinces and abroad.
The current airport served 7.89 million passengers last year, despite its capacity of only 1 million passengers a year.
The new one, which will have the capacity to serve 8.1 million passengers annually, is expected to serve as a main gateway for the resource-rich Sumatra Island.
The new airport, located around 42 kilometers from Polonia, will be equipped with a 3,750-meter runway and apron that can accommodate 33 wide-body aircraft, such as Airbus A330s and A380s, as well as Boeing B747s and B767s.
Kuala Namu will also be connected to the provincial capital of Medan by a railway system.
State-run train company PT Kereta Api Indonesia ( KAI ), through its subsidiary PT Railink, finished the airport train project earlier this year.
The state firm is going to operate 16 carriages purchased from South Korea to serve up to 1.3 million passengers a year.
At first, people willing to travel from and to Kuala Namu will have to use an arterial road that the Public Works Ministry is still working on.
In the meantime, a 72-kilometer Medan-Kuala Namu-Tebing Tinggi toll road project is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
'We hope the toll road will be ready next year because the capacity of trains and arterial road will not be enough to meet increasing demand from passengers,' AP II president director Tri S. Sunoko said.
Previously, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said the ministry was committed to accelerating the construction of the toll road, which would connect the new airport with the provincial capital and the palm-oil rich city of Tebing Tinggi.
The minister said the ministry was working on land acquisition for the project.
As of Thursday, approximately 60 percent of the total required area had been acquired, according to Djoko.
The ministry expects to tender the Rp 3.3 trillion toll road project in the second half of this year when 75 percent of the land has been acquired.
According to Toll Road Regulatory Agency ( BPJT ) head Achmad Gani Ghazaly, four consortiums have passed the pre-qualification phase, where they have their documents and capital verified to take part in the project. They are SP Road and Prabu Persada; Jasa Marga, Waskita Karya and Hutama Karya; Bangun Cipta Sarana; and Nusantara Infrastructure and Egys.