The Jakarta Post
The construction of the New Samarinda Airport's (BSB) runway commenced on Monday with a cornerstone laying ceremony conducted by East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak.
The new airport, set to replace Samarinda's old Temindung Airport, is being built by the provincial administration and its investor PT Perdana Investment.
The new runway will have a length of 2,500 meters, compared to Temindung's 1,160 meters, allowing larger aircraft such as the single-aisle Boeing 737 to land.
'As of now, only three airports in East Kalimantan can serve Boeing 737 aircraft: Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan, Juwatan Airport in Tarakan and Kalimarau Airport in Berau,' said Awang.
He also expected the investor to honor its commitment to finish construction on the new airport's airside as the landside construction was completed in 2013.
The East Kalimantan provincial administration said it would provide 5,000 hectares of land to PT Perdana Investment as compensation. The investor had requested the land, which will be used for aircraft maintenance or as a home base for low-cost carrier Lion Air.
According to Awang, the land compensation would profit the province because Lion Air had earlier planned to establish a base in Manado, North Sulawesi. PT Perdana Investment, however, considers Samarinda as a good location.
The development of BSB was first proposed by former governor HM Ardans in 1995 before his successor Suwarna Abdul Fatah officially started the construction on Sept. 17, 2005.
The construction has been funded from the national state budget and the East Kalimantan Provincial budget.
Various obstacles have halted the construction, but President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono restarted the project by laying the cornerstone for the airport's landside on Oct. 24, 2012. (yln)