As air traffic at the country's main gateway, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, worsens, the government has committed to back the land clearing needed to pave the way for the airport's expansion.
The Transportation Ministry will allocate the funds needed for the construction of the airport's third runway from next year's state budget.
Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said the construction of another runway was the only solution, before the development of Karawang Airport, just east of Jakarta, begins next year.
The budget needed just to clear the land for the 3,660 meter by 60 m runway is Rp 4 trillion ( US$350 million ). This has led state airport operator Angkasa Pura ( AP ) II to turn to the government for financing.
'I guess there is no other way than to develop the third runway, but the problem is that Government Regulation No. 40/2012 on airport development stipulates that state budgets should not finance commercial airports,' Bambang told The Jakarta Post recently.
'The regulation [must be revised] as mentioned in a recent meeting with the Vice President,' he added. According to him, funds would be allocated from the 2015 state budget.
The third runway is crucial as AP II data shows that the annual number of passengers at Soekarno-Hatta was 60.13 million last year, nearly three times its annual capacity of 22 million passengers.
Salahudin Rafi, operational and technical director with AP II, said with government support, the operator was optimistic that the runway construction could begin in 2016, as mentioned in the airport's grand design.
'With the new runway, the airport can accommodate 87 million to 100 million passengers per year,' Rafi said. 'The government has shown its support, the construction will begin on time,' he said.
AP II earmarked Rp 26.2 trillion to develop Soekarno-Hatta between 2010 and 2016, with Rp 11.1 trillion allocated for this year.
The operator also aims to complete the expansion of the third terminal, to accommodate 25 million passengers annually, next year.
According to Rafi, the operator plans to revitalize the first terminal at Soekarno-Hatta by expanding it to 204,445 square meters by 2017 from the current 144,635 square meters to accommodate 18 million passengers annually.
The second terminal will also be expanded from its current 154,936 square meters, with capacity of 9 million passengers a year, to 168,546 square meters to accommodate 19 million passengers in 2016.
In the meantime, Bambang said, the relocation of commercial flights to Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta earlier this year, as well as an improved navigation system, would help ease congestion at the airport.
'Soekarno-Hatta has been better this year with the relocation of commercial flights to Halim,' Bambang said, adding that the airport's two runways would see capacity increase as of June 15, when the airport would serve 72 flights per hour, from the current 64, following its improved navigation system.
'With the increased number of flights per hour, the airport can accommodate flights relocated to Halim. Therefore, Soekarno-Hatta will definitely get better this year,' he said.
Regarding the construction of Karawang Airport, Bambang said it was still waiting for revisions to West Java's spatial planning, as airport development is not currently mentioned.
Karawang Airport is part of the central government's Master plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development ( MP3EI ) and will be constructed under a public-private partnership ( PPP ) program.
The development of Kuala Namu International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, and Kertajati International Airport in Majalengka, West Java, are also part of the MP3EI air transportation projects.
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport facts
Location : 20 kilometers west of Jakarta city center
IATA airport code : CGK
Number of runways : Two, each 3,600 meters long
Number of terminals : Three with a combined annual capacity of 22 million people
Passengers : 60 million ( 2013 )
Status : One of the world's top 10 most crowded airports
From various sources JP/SWI