State-run airport management company PT Angkasa Pura II has confirmed that Polonia Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, will be closed down from July 25.
PT Angkasa Pura will hand over the management of Polonia Airport to the Air Force for national defense.
Polonia Airport PT Angkasa Pura II general manager Said Ridwan said the last commercial flight at Polonia would take off at midnight on July 24, after which every plane parked at the airport must be moved to the new Kuala Namu International Airport (KNIA) in Deli Serdang regency by 3 a.m.
Ridwan added that the first flight from KNIA would take place two hours after all the planes had been moved there.
“The first flight from KNIA will take off at 5:20 a.m., marking the commencement of operations at KNIA,” Ridwan told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Ridwan said PT Angkasa Pura II was all set to operate the new airport from July 25, as it had carried out simulations twice earlier.
“The outcome of the two simulations was good, despite a few glitches. However, we will solve all the inadequacies before the soft opening on July 25,” said Ridwan.
PT Angkasa Pura II held the second simulation on July 18, while the first one was conducted the previous week.
“During the first simulation, we only involved the terminal and passengers, while in the second simulation we involved the navigation system, cargo terminal and passenger terminal,” said simulation team head Djamal, adding that the simulation was aimed at testing the system, facilities and human resources before the soft opening.
KNIA can be reached from Medan by main road. Public Works Ministry highway director general Djoko Murjanto previously said the ministry had completed 80 percent of the roadwork on main roads between Medan and the KNIA.
He said work on all three main road accesses would be finished by the end of the year, while those from Simpang Kayu Besar and Tanjung Morawa were ready.
Besides road access, KNIA can also be reached by airport train, run by state-owned train company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), through subsidiary PT Railink. The train is expected to serve up to 1.3 million passengers a year.
Earlier, there was fears that the opening of KNIA would be postponed due to land acquisition issues. Residents staged a protest as they reportedly had yet to receive compensation for their land, on which main roads will be built.
The new airport will be able to serve 8.1 million passengers annually, while Polonia, which is 42 kilometers away, served 7.89 million passengers last year despite its capacity of only 1 million passengers a year.
A travel agency owner, Tandeanus, welcomed the opening of the new airport, but the urged the administration to improve road access from the new airport to tourist destinations.
“Before we start losing competitiveness in tourism, we urge the government to act quickly to improve infrastructure to tourist destinations in North Sumatra, for example the construction of Rawasaring road connecting Tanjung Morawa, Bangun Purba, Gunung Meriah, Saran Padang, Seribu Dolok and Tongging.
“If the roads were properly paved, tourists would be able to reach Lake Toba in two hours, while providing easier access for agricultural exports from the Karo Highland to the new airport and Belawan Port,” Tandeanus said on Friday.