The Jakarta Post
The government says a contingency plan has been prepared to help minimize any potential disruption or chaos during the launch of Kuala Namu International Airport ( KNIA ) in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, scheduled for Thursday.
Transportation Ministry air transportation director general Herry Bakti S. Gumay said that the airport emergency plan and airport security plan had been completed and related stakeholders had conducted simulations on the emergency situation.
'We have conducted the simulations three times this year with the last one held on July 18 and we've see improvements from the first to the last. We're optimistic we will be able to tackle any potential emergency cases including fires, power shut-downs, or long queues,' Herry told reporters in Jakarta on Monday.
He said local residents, all airlines that flew to Medan, logistics companies, the immigration office, and every related stakeholder had took part during the simulations.
'We can assure you that this airport is really ready to start its operation and we are committed to improving the services,' he went on, adding that the Rp 5.8 trillion ( US$574.2 million ) airport was built with a much better system and had more modern facilities compared to the old Polonia.
He also said the new airport would be ready to accommodate a surging number of passengers during the Idul Fitri exodus that is predicted to peak on Aug. 3.
The fact that it has a total capacity of 8.1 million passengers gave more room for airline and passenger traffic compared to Polonia.
In addition, he said facilities to support the operation of Kuala Namu such as trains, taxis and state-run Damri buses were ready.
State-owned railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia, through its subsidiary Railink, would provide 15 trips daily that were able to accommodate 20 percent of around 30,000 passengers passing through the airport every day.
The rest would be served by taxis and Damri buses.
Moreover, a number of airlines such as national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysia Airlines announced on Monday they would move their Medan operations to Kuala Namu.
Garuda and Malaysia Airlines fly nine times daily and 14 times weekly, respectively, to North Sumatra's capital city.
Garuda vice president communications Pujobroto encouraged customers who wanted to go to Jakarta or other destinations to arrive at the new airport two hours earlier on Thursday to anticipate any possible long queues or flight delays.
The new airport is located around 39 kilometers from Medan and it will be equipped with a 3,750x60-meter runway that is larger than Soekarno-Hatta International Airport's, so that the world's largest passenger airliner ' the A380 ' can land.
It was also built with a new apron that can accommodate 33 wide-body aircraft at the same time, such as A330s, Boeing B747s and B767s.