Mon, 01 Aug 1994

Airports, ports planned for int'l flights, trade

JAKARTA (JP): Airports and seaports in North Sulawesi, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan will be developed to facilitate international flights and trade to support the establishment of sub-regional cooperation involving Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia.

Coordinating Minister for Industry and Trade Hartarto told reporters after a meeting with a number of ministers and governors on Saturday that airports and seaports in Manado, North Sulawesi; Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Pontianak, West Kalimantan will be expanded in the near future so that they can accommodate large airplanes and ships.

The meeting was attended by the governors of the three provinces, Minister of Transportation Haryanto Dhanutirto, Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications Joop Ave, State Minister of Investment/Chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board Sanyoto Sastrowardoyo and Minister of Forestry Djamaloedin Soeryohadikoesoemo.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said recently that its study on the planned cooperation, called the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA), is feasible for the acceleration of economic development in the areas involved -- the three Indonesian provinces, the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, five provinces of the Philippines and Brunei.

Minister Haryanto explained that after their expansion, the airports in Manado, Pontianak and Balikpapan are expected to serve international flights bound to various countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States and European countries.

He added that regional flights from the three airports will be served by Merpati Nusantara, Sempati Air, Mandala and Bouraq airlines, while the international flights will be served by the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.

The minister said the expansion of the Sepinggan airport in Balikpapan will be funded with a US$150-million aid from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund of Japan and the Sam Ratulangi airport in Manado with a $125-million aid from the Asian Development Bank.

"The expansion of the Supadio airport in Pontianak will use the state budget," he added.

Minister Hartarto said the expansion of the seaports in Pontianak, Balikpapan and Manado will start this year.


Joop said he is optimistic that with the operation of the regional and international flights, the three provinces will become very important destinations for international tourists, considering that they are homes to attractive submarine parks.

"The Bunaken submarine park offshore Sulawesi has been popular all over the world for some time," he added.

West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan also have potential sites for adventure and eco-tourism, Joop said.

West Kalimantan Governor Arwin said his province has a mountainous area on Gunung Palung with the most original forests in the world.

"We also have two-layer waterfalls and rivers suitable for raft rides," he pointed out.

Governor of East Kalimantan Ardans said his province has thousands of species of birds.

Hartarto said the team assigned by the ADB is expected to make recommendations soon on potential businesses which can be developed in the EAGA area.

When asked about Australia's interest in joining the EAGA, Hartarto said that its proposal is still under consideration by the four concerned governments. (fhp)