Indonesia will allow more commercial carriers to operate from a Jakarta airfield used for presidential flights, as it seeks to ease congestion at the city’s main Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Halim Perdanakusuma airport, located in east Jakarta, will be revamped to service short-haul and all-business-class flights, Vice Transport Minister Bambang Susantono said in an interview today. It could be ready in the first half of next year, he said.
Soekarno-Hatta handled 58 million passengers last year, twice the number it was built to service, according to the CAPA Centre for Aviation in Sydney. Carriers including PT Lion Mentari Airlines and PT Mandala Airlines are adding planes to tap growing demand for travel in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, which has expanded by more than 6 percent for the last 10 quarters.
“The infrastructure is not adequate enough for the growth that this country is undergoing in terms of air traffic,” Mandala Airlines President Director Paul Rombeek said in an interview today with Bloomberg TV’s Rishaad Salamat. “It is a problem today and the problem will only become bigger in the near future.”
Lion Air, which has the world’s biggest order backlog for 559 narrow-body aircraft, and state-owned PT Garuda Indonesia are interested in starting services from Halim, Susantono said, adding that the facility could also be used for flights to Singapore. Mandala Airlines is also looking at flying from airfields such as Halim to beat congestion, Rombeek said today. The carrier plans to grow its fleet to 25 Airbus SAS A320s by 2015 from eight now, he said.
Indonesian airlines carried 70 million passengers in 2012, up from 37 million in 2008, according to figures from the CAPA Centre. Some 26.2 trillion rupiah ($2.6 billion) will be invested to triple the capacity at Soekarno-Hatta, Tri S. Sunoko, president director of PT Angkasa Pura II, the facility’s state-owned operator, said today. The development plan includes adding more runways and expanding cargo terminals at the facility.
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