North Tapanuli, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has visited North Tapanuli ahead of the declaration of the Silangit airport into another international airport in North Sumatra.
The minister visited the Silangit airport in North Tapanuli on Sunday before it starts official operation as an international airport on October, 28, 2017.
The runway of the airport is being lengthened from 1,450 meters to 1,650 meters to be able to serve wide bodied aircraft of the Boeing 737 class of all series.
Budi Karya said he was optimistic the work to lengthen the runway would be comp0leted as scheduled before Silangit was officially declared an international airport by President Joko Widodo.
He said the number of passengers via the airport would increase after Silangit is named an international airport.
The first aircraft of the nations flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, on a international flight from Singapore would land in Silangit on Oct. 28," he said.
"It would be a chartered flight but when the passengers increases in number, the route would be served with regular flights," the minister said.
There would be more airlines to serve flight to and from Silangit, he said, adding currently there are only Sriwijaya Air and Garuda, but Lion Air already proposes for permit.
With the status as an international airport, new hotels and big restaurants are expected to emerge lining up the road near the airport, he said.
"The people of Batak from Jakarta or leaving for Jakarta do not have to go Medans Kualanamu anymore," he said.
The Silangit airport was built by the Japanese military during the World War II for military purpose. It was expanded and modernized as a commercial airport in 1995.
On 14 December 2012, the government officially commission the airport under the state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II.
The airport is expected to facilitate more tourists visiting Lake Toba and Pulau Samosir. They do not have to go first to Kualanamu.
Source: ANTARA News