Jakarta. State owned Angkasa Pura II, Indonesia's largest airport operator, is considering Karawang, a district 60 kilometers east of Jakarta, as potential site for the development of a new airport intended to complement Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Indonesia's busiest airport is in dire need of a supporting facility, as it is predicted to face a traffic of 100 million people a year by 2026. Today, it caters to about 61 million passengers.
Soekarno-Hatta Airport is currently developing its fourth and final terminal, leaving no space for further development, said Agus Haryadi, Angkasa Pura II corporate secretary.
"We only have the fourth quadrant of empty land left. If we use it for Terminal 4, then all 1,800 hectares will be occupied," he said on Thursday (26/07).
"Once it reaches its maximum passenger limit of 100 million people, we'd have run out of space. We need a new 'Soekarno-Hatta,' now where would that be? That's what we're reviewing," he added.
For this reason the company is examining locations for the new airport, one of which is Karawang. Its proximity to Soekarno-Hatta is appealing, but the way its airspace intersects with Soekarno-Hatta's requires further review, Agus said.
In 2010, the government was in discussions with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Karawang airport development, but the plan was abandoned.
When he took office, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo decided to prioritize Kertajati International Airport in Majalengka, West Java, which now complements Bandung's crowded Husein Sastranegara Airport.
Bayu Sutanto, the head of scheduled flights department at the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (Inaca), said it was a lack of funding that hindered the Karawang Airport plans.
"The government has previously proven unable to pursue this airport development, despite knowing about Soekarno-Hatta's strained capacity," he said.
He also said that a feasibility study by JICA found no issues between Karawang and Soekarno-Hatta's air spaces.
According to flight analyst Alvin Lee, who supported AP II's development plan, wherever new airports are built, the possibility of future expansion must be considered even in the base design.
"When designing a new airport, one must anticipate its development for the next 50-100 years. Like [Singapore's] Changi Airport, whose land was prepared in anticipation of expansions far in the future, including its fourth runway," he said.
"Soekarno-Hatta's was late in anticipating its growth in passengers."
Indonesia is predicted to serve 120 million air passengers in 2018, 11 percent more than in 2017.