Sun, 05 Dec 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia plans to produce the prototype of a small capacity aircraft for air travel to and from regions inaccessible by land in 2013.

"I have coordinated with the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), the transportation ministry and the Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT) to produce an N219 type aircraft with a capacity of 19 passengers that could land on a simple airstrip as early as 2013," the director of maritime, aviation and defense equipment of the ministry of industries, Soerjono, said here on Saturday.

He said in this case PT Dirgantara would likely be assigned to build two units of aircraft with a price tag of around US$3.8 million over the next three years.

"According to PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) in order to break even sales should reach 27 aircraft. The capital is around US$250 million but for the basic capital for the development a total of US$40 million would be needed," he said.

He said the government would prepare a subsidy scheme for the operating of the aircraft.

"The aircraft is badly needed for the new regions and therefore there will be subsidy in the tickets or fuel," he said.

He said he hoped regional governments and airline companies would buy the planes to operate in regions that need them.

He said the idea was to improve connectivity among regions and spur growth in regions which used to be isolated due to a limited access.

"The government is pushing this program because the number of aircraft operating in regions in Papua, Sulawesi and Sumatra tend to decline while people in the regions need them very much," he said.