Arientha Primanita & ID/Tri Listiyarini
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono broke ground on Thursday on a major project to overhaul Soekarno-Hatta International Airport that will increase the passenger-handling capacity of the capital’s main airport from the current 22 million a year to 62 million by 2014.
The new-look airport, which the government is dubbing an “aerotropolis,” is expected to be a major driver of economic growth and investment in the country.
“The renovation of this airport is being done at the right time and for the right reasons,” Yudhoyono said. “There has often been a mismatch or a gap in the business world, where the economy is growing but the infrastructure is not.”
He said that with domestic and international air travel increasing in line with the growth of the country’s middle class, it was important that Indonesia had the capacity to meet that demand.
“This development will have very real benefits,” he said of the Rp 11.7 trillion ($1.2 billion) overhaul. “Not just for Banten [where the airport is located] or Jakarta, but on a national level.”
He also said that the overhaul was being done in time for the start of the closer regional integration under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community in 2015.
“Before we can build links to Asia and East Asia, we need to ensure that our domestic connectivity is sound,” the president said. “This is something that we have to be very serious about developing over the next five years.”
Tri S. Sunoko, director of state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura, said the main purpose of the renovation was to boost Soekarno-Hatta’s capacity from 22 million passengers a year to 62 million a year.
He pointed out that the airport handled 51.5 million passengers last year, making it the 12th busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers, according to Airports Council International.
He said the first phase in the project would be to boost the capacity of the newly built Terminal 3 from four million passengers a year to 25 million.
He also said that terminals 1 and 2 would be upgraded. Both terminals can currently handle nine million passengers a year, but this will be increased to 18 million and 19 million respectively.
Tri said there would also be improvements made to the operations of the airport’s two main runways.
As part of the runway project, the apron will be expanded to hold up to 174 aircraft, up from the current 125, and is expected to increase the frequency of landings and takeoffs per day.
Another part of the overhaul will be to build a connecting facility between terminals 1 and 2. The new building will feature the full array of airport services available elsewhere at Soekarno-Hatta, and will host a shopping mall and hotel.
It will also serve as a transit hub, with automated people carriers to transport passengers between terminals, as well as a bus terminal and a railway station connecting the airport to downtown Jakarta.
A new cargo terminal will also be built, as will commercial and office facilities.
Among the main highlights of the overhaul is the construction of two train lines from Manggarai Station in South Jakarta to Soekarno-Hatta’s Terminal 3.
Dahlan Iskan, the minister for state enterprises, previously said that one of the lines would run west from Manggarai to Tangerang along existing tracks, before turning north on new tracks to the airport.
The other line will be an express service running on elevated tracks directly from Manggarai to the airport.
Tundjung Inderawan, the Transportation Ministry’s director general for rail transportation, said the Tangerang line would be completed sometime next year and go into operation in 2014. He added that the 19.3-kilometer line would cost Rp 1.7 trillion to build.
The express line, which Dahlan said would cost far more, is expected to be funded through a public-private partnership.
“The document on the PPP is still being evaluated by consultants,” Tundjung said.
“We hope that we can get an opinion on it later this year so that we can hold the tender for investors in 2013.”
Tri said that once the overhaul was complete, Angkasa Pura planned more developments to increase the airport’s capacity even further.
That will include the construction of a fourth terminal and a third runway, which are expected to boost the overall capacity to 87 million passengers a year.
Tri said the plans were designed to ensure that Soekarno-Hatta’s passenger-handling capacity would remain adequate for at least the next 20 years.
He said current projections showed that between 2020 and 2030, flight and passenger numbers in the Asia-Pacific region would surpass those in Europe and the United States, with some 2.3 billion passenger trips made each year.
“In Asean alone, air passenger numbers will keep on increasing over the next 10 years,” Tri said.
“This is particularly true in Indonesia, where the market for air travel is very big and growing at up to 5.7 percent a year.
“That’s why we need a serious strategy for a grand design that will guide our long-term air transportation infrastructure policies comprehensively.”