Jakarta. Construction on a runway extension and new terminal at Silangit International Airport in North Sumatra will finish on Sep. 15, according to an official statement released on Sunday (06/08).
Muhammad Awaluddin, president director of airport operator Angkasa Pua II, said the new developments will meet international standards and will allow foreign tourists to fly to Lake Toba, the region's most coveted tourism destination, directly.
"The runway, which was only 2,200 x 30 meters before, will now reach 2,650 x 45 meters to accommodate larger planes such as Boeing 737-800 or Airbus 320 to land on,” Awaluddin said.
The Ministry of Tourism estimates around 500,000 tourists to arrive at the airport by 2019.
"Visitors to Silangit Airport numbered 124,000 people during the first half of 2017, increasing by 300 percent compared to the same period last year. This year, the average number per month has been around 20,000 passengers. We expect 250,000-300,000 passengers by the end of the year," Awaluddin added.
The airport is expected to attract passengers from neighboring Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
"The initial [airport] design targeted only domestic flights, but the Tourism Ministry asked for enhanced development to support tourism at Lake Toba, so we added customs, quarantine and immigration facilities as well," he said.
The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has also been preparing immigration personnel for Silangit Airport to accommodate the increased international tourists there.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the ministry has poured Rp 20 trillion ($1.5 billion) into developing the Lake Toba region, wherein Rp 10 trillion has gone to infrastructure development and the other Rp 10 trillion has been invested in resort development.