JAKARTA, presidentpost.com – Silangit Airport in North Sumatra has been given international status under the Decree of Transportation Minister No. KP 821 Year 2017.
According to Director of Angkasa Pura (AP) II, Muhammad Awaluddin, the international status for the Silangit Airport was the result of good collaboration between Angkasa Pura II, Transportation Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, Directorate General of Immigration, Directorate General of Customs and Excise, Quarantine Office, as well as other stakeholders, such as the police and of course the airlines that will serve international routes.
“AP II currently is developing the Silangit Airport, including the expansion of the terminal to be able to accommodate 760,000 passengers per year and extending the runway to become 2,650 x 45 meters so it can be landed by the medium-bodied Boeing 737-900 Extended Range or similar,” said Awaluddin on Monday (9/11).
The passenger traffics at the Silangit Airport reached 124 thousand people during the first half of 2017, or grew more than 300 percent compared to the same period last year of 31 thousand. So, in a month it’s about 20 thousand passengers. It is predicted until the end of the year, the number of passengers will be 250 thousand-300 thousand.
Silangit is the nearest airport to Lake Toba with a distance can be taken in 30 minutes to 1 hour. Hopefully it will bring in more tourists to the Lake Toba.
Previously Director General of Air Transport of the Transportation Ministry Agus Santoso said in Jakarta, on Thursday (9/7) that aside of Silangit Airport in North Sumatra, the Morotai Airport in Maluku would also be given the international status. Both airports were chosen for their potentials in bringing in foreign tourists to the nearby destinations which are considered very big.
“Silangit will be improved to become an International Airport. Besides Silangit, there is also Morotai,” he said.
However, Agus added he would study them first. This is needed to prevent the international status from becoming a boomerang.
Based on data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, there are currently 28 airports in Indonesia with the international status. However not all the international airports serve the flights to and from overseas.
“We do not want the case like the Belitung Airport to be repeated. Its international status was issued 10 months ago, but until now there is no single flight from and to abroad,” said Agus.
Therefore, Agus gives one month time to the two airports to get an international flight, either by the domestic or foreign aviation company.
“We give a deadline, within a month there must be at least one flight to and from abroad,” said Agus. (OZ/DTK/TPP)