Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The new Kuala Namu International Airport in North Sumatra will be inaugurated in March 2013. People believe that the airport will boost the national and regional economic growth.

The much awaited airport - located in Kuala Namu, Deli Serdang - will become the new international transit centre in Sumatra and other western parts of Indonesia.

Spread over 1,365 hectares, the Kuala Namu Airport will be Indonesia`s second largest airport after the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.

Speaking at the Sumatra Governors Coordination Meeting in Medan, Joko Waskito, the airport's project manager, expressed hope that the airport will be operational by March 2013.

According to Joko, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will inaugurate the Kuala Namu Airport in March 2013.

"90 percent of the airport is completed. The airport will be operational before March 2013," he said.

Waskito explained that the 1,365-hectare airport has a terminal area measuring 118,930 sq meters, a parking area measuring 50,820 sq meters and a cargo garage measuring 13,000 sq meters.

"The airport has sophisticated equipment. The airport can accommodate up to 8.1 million passengers every year," he said.

According to him, the airport will have a 3,750 meter long runway, which is 80 meters wide, and 53 airport aprons, where aircrafts can be parked, including the Airbus A380. The airport will serve the city of Medan, Sumatra.

Meanwhile, North Sumatra's acting governor, Gatot Pujo Nugroho, said the construction of the Kuala Namu Airport is almost completed. It will be operational in March 2013.

"My office has already looked into the clearance of land for the construction of a road that will connect the airport to Medan," he said.

According to Nugroho, the construction of a two-lane arterial road leading to the airport has been completed.

The provincial administration has also started constructing a toll road that will connect the airport to the provincial town of Binjai.

"A ground-breaking ceremony was held on November 13 to mark the construction of the toll road," said Nugroho.

Wisnu Budi Setianto, public relations officer of PT Angkasa Pura II, an airport management company, said the construction of the airport should have been completed before December 2012. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, the airport will be operational by March 2013.

"Besides, the airport operator will apply an `open island check-in` concept, as seen at the Singapore Changi Airport," said Setianto, adding that the Kuala Namu Airport will replace the Polonia Airport in Medan.

Indonesia's Transportation Minister, EE Mangindaan, said there is a possibility that the Polonia Airport will be closed once the new Kuala Namu aerodrome becomes operational.

"Once the Kuala Namu Airport is operational, there is a possibility that the Polonia Airport will be closed," said Mangindaan.

The Kuala Namu Airport is under construction in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, and will replace the Polonia Airport.

Several planes had crashed at the Polonia Airport because it has a short runway, making it difficult for planes to take off.

According to the transportation minister, the Polonia Airport will not be closed (immediately) once the Kuala Namu Airport is commissioned.

The Polonia Airport will only be closed after the construction of the Kuala Namu Airport is completed.

Aviation facilities at the Kuala Namu Airport will be controlled by the Indonesian government, while facilities on land will be owned by PT Angkasa Pura II, which is expected to provide $350 million as an initial investment, in return for a 30-year lease, after which the government will take the ownership.

Wiratman & Associates is looking into the design of the airport. The firm has also designed other airports and offices in Indonesia.

As of May 2011, only 10 percent of the runway had been constructed. The construction was later put on hold as many local suppliers were unable to supply sand for the construction of the runway.

By the end of November 2011, 70 percent of the project had been completed. It was predicted that by the end of 2012, a highway (non-toll road) and a railway track will be completed, while the toll road will be completed later.

International tourism in the province will increase once the airport becomes operational. In addition, the airport will boost the region's economic growth.

Editor: Priyambodo RH


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