Wed, 31 Aug 1994

More airports will serve int'l flights

JAKARTA (JP): Foreign visitors will have easier access to several tourist destinations in Indonesia, as more airports in the country will be able to accommodate international flights.

A report from the Directorate General of Tourism released yesterday said a new airport in Medan, North Sumatra -- which will replace the present Polonia Airport -- will be equipped with a 4,000-meter runway. The new airport will serve direct flights from the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

The Polonia airport currently accommodates direct flights from Singapore and Malaysia only.

The government recently picked PT Citra Lamtorogung Persada, a company owned by President Soeharto's eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, to construct the new airport near Medan at a cost of US$600 million within three years. The company, in cooperation with Schiphol Airport of the Netherlands, will start construction it in the middle of next year.

Chief of the travel agent department of the Directorate General, Thamrin B. Bachri, said yesterday that the inclusion of additional international flights will be proposed to the Directorate General of Air Transportation soon.

The other airports which will increase their services to accommodate direct international flights include the Ngurah Rai in Bali and the Juanda in Surabaya, East Java. Both will be expanded to accommodate wide-body aircraft such as Boeing 747- 400.

The Juanda, currently serving flights from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, is also expected to serve flights from Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

The Ngurah Rai, already serving 13 international flights, is expected to serve flights from France.

South Sulawesi

The Hasanuddin Airport in Ujungpandang, South Sulawesi, will also serve direct flights from the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

The Ministry of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications anticipates that the country will attract 3.8 million to 3.9 million foreign visitors this year, and will increase to about 6.5 million in 1999.

The government has actually planned to build and expand several other airports, including those in Lombok of West Nusa Tenggara, the Adi Sumarmo airport in Solo of Central Java, the Hasanuddin airport and the Sam Ratulangi airport in Manado of North Sulawesi.

Eastern Asian countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea as well as European countries, including France, Britain and Germany, are expected to provide the majority of visitors to Indonesia.

Director General of Tourism Andi Mappi Sammeng said recently that Japan Asia Airways (JAA) of Japan and LTU International Airways of Germany, will start serving flights to Indonesia in September and November respectively.

There are currently 33 international air carriers serving Indonesia, which now operates four airports, Jakarta, Bali, Batam in Riau and Medan -- the main points of entry for foreign tourists. The other entrances include airports in Manado and Surabaya. (icn)