Archipelago

Air Force leases land for
airport expansion

The Gorontalo provincial administration has leased the Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU)'s land to expand the Jalaludin Airport, Gorontalo Governor Rusli Habibie told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Rusli said the 40-hectare area across the runway would be used to construct a 2,500 meter runway with a width of 45 meters.

"The Gorontalo provincial administration will pay for the leased land, the price is still awaiting a decision from an appraisal team," he said.

"The additional runway is needed to maximize access for air transport from Gorontalo to various other regions. We cannot just rely on the existing runway, which is in a patchy condition."

The governor said that building a new runway was more efficient than fixing the old one, because it would obstruct flights.

He said the airport expansion was expected to finish in 2015 including the terminal, runway, fence and a Haj embarkation terminal.

The airport improvement was sparked by the skidding of a Lion Air airplane as it hit cattle when landing at Jalaludin Airport's runway.

Rusli also said he would issue a document that would become the legal basis for the TNI AU to enforce flight safety regulations, including farmers who let their cattle enter the airport, which is managed by a Transportation Ministry's management unit (UPT).

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