The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday kicked off the operation of two airports in East Kalimantan – APT Pranoto International Airport in the provincial capital of Samarinda and Maratua Airport on the remote Maratua Island, Berau regency.
In his speech, Jokowi instructed Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi to open flights from APT Pranoto Airport to Surabaya and Jakarta within two weeks of the launch. “It is an order,” said the President.
The presidential aircraft was the second plane to land at APT Pranoto, as the day before, another plane held a test flight from and to the airport, which was named after the first governor of East Kalimantan, Aji Pangeran Tumenggung Pranoto.
APT Pranoto Airport is located a 45-minute drive from the inner city of Samarinda. It has a 2,250 x 25 square meter runway with a total capacity of 1.5 million passengers annually.
The President demanded that the capacity be increased to 5 million passengers annually to accommodate flights to and from neighboring cities.
Currently, the airport only serves flights to neighboring cities and remote areas in East Kalimantan and North Kalimantan provided by two airlines – Susi Air and Express Air.
Express Air aircraft fly to Tanjung Redeb in Berau regency, Tarakan and Malinau using ATR72 planes, while Susi Air flies to the provincial towns of Melak and Datah Dawai using Twin Otter aircraft with a capacity of 12 passengers.
Currently, residents of Samarinda, Tenggarong, Bontang and Sangatta, who want to go to Jakarta, have to transit at Sampinggan Airport in Balikpapan. (bbn)