The Jakarta Post
State airport operator Angkasa Pura II (AP II) says it will continue to operate Pondok Cabe Airport in Tangerang, Banten, and Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta to ensure safe air navigation.
The operation of both airports by Angkasa Pura II is crucial as the Transportation Ministry is concerned about air navigation, said a company official.
'There's no problem, the Pondok Cabe's operation will continue. Angkasa Pura II will still manage the airport,' AP II corporate secretary Agus Haryadi said on Monday.
Agus said AP II needed to operate both airports to synchronize the air navigation for Pondok Cabe and Halim as both airports shared airspace. Without a single airport operator, coordination of aircraft flying to and from the airports would be more difficult.
Pondok Cabe Airport, some 23 kilometers south of Jakarta, is currently a shared civilian and military airport. State oil company Pertamina uses the airport as the base for its airline subsidiary Pelita Air Service, while the Air Force also uses it.
Commercial operation of the airport is expected to start this month, with national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia planning to open eight new short-haul domestic flights from the airport, including to Cilacap and Semarang in Central Java, Yogyakarta and Bandar Lampung, using ATR 72-600 aircraft.
Pondok Cabe Airport is also expected to ease the pressure on already congested Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Banten, which has over 1,000 flights a daily.
'We currently have an idle airport, while Soekarno Hatta is so overloaded, why don't we take advantage of it?' Agus said.
Garuda Indonesia president director Arif Wibowo said recently that the Transportation Ministry supported the flag carrier's decision and that discussions on technical details were ongoing.
'We have been talking about the operational issues, such as the navigation system, how we have to upgrade the lights and the take off and landing equipment,' he said.
He said that the airport would be an important secondary airport for the company to aid its growth this year as well as the airline routes connecting Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan.
Pertamina is also reported to have allocated Rp 200 billion (US$15.3 million) for the first stage revamp, including runway strengthening and terminal renovation.
It is currently in the process of obtaining a license from the Transportation Ministry to operate Pondok Cabe as a commercial airport.
Agus added that despite a recent court ruling giving Lion Air authority to operate Halim Airport, Lion Air subsidiary Angkasa Transportindo Selaras (ATS) still did not have an airport operational permit (BUBU), so they would still be required to work with AP II to operate Halim.
He said the cooperation would likely be in the form of ATS as investor with AP II being the operator, with AP II's existing investment in the airport to be assessed soon to decide the size of AP II's stake in the total investment.
The investment in the form of terminal and runway is estimated to amount to Rp 200 billion, with the firm stating that it left it to Lion Air to buy those assets.
'Despite the court ruling, we will still be Halim operator. The only difference is that in Halim we'll work with ATS, while in Pondok Cabe we will work with Pelita,' he said.
In the ruling, issued on Feb. 16, the Supreme Court rejected AP II's request for a case review over the management of the airport, after losing a previous cassation in 2014 in favor of ATS to manage the airport.
The dispute stemmed from an agreement between Air Force Cooperative (Inkopau) and ATS to manage the airport back in 2005.
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