Medan's Polonia International Airport will be officially closed on July 25 to make way for the newly-constructed Kualanamu International Airport, despite the fact that the highway to the new airport remains unbuilt.
“On July 25, all operations will be moved to Kualanamu,” Herry Bakti Singayuda, the director general of air transport at the Ministry of Transportation, said on Wednesday. “July 24 flights scheduled for before midnight will still fly out of Polonia airport, but after midnight, planes will begin landing in Kualanamu.”
Garuda Indonesia will be the first airline to land at the new airport, with a flight scheduled to touch down at 12:30 a.m. on July 25.
Located about 45 kilometers from the North Sumatran capital and spanning 1,376 hectares, Kualanamu, which will be run by state-owned operator Angkasa Pura II, will replace Polonia Airport.
Armand Effendi Pohan, the head of Bina Marga, which oversees the management of roads and toll roads for the Ministry of Public Works, said that 4,706 square meters of highway to the airport has not yet been acquired.
Transportation Minister Evert Erens Mangindaan noted, however, that the airport is the only one in Indonesia that is reachable by train.
“We are grateful that Kualanamu is accessible via train,” he said as quoted by Indonesian economic news portal Kontan.co.id last week.
Vivo.co.id reported that Public Works Deputy Minister Hermanto Dardak said the three main roads to Kualanamu will be completed by September, though the land acquisition for the toll road serving Medan to Kualanamu is only 65 percent complete and expected to be finished by 2014.
Kualanamu is forecast to service 8 million passengers per year, which would make it the second largest airport in the country behind Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.
Meanwhile, Angkasa Pura II has not yet decided how much the airport's passenger service charge will cost.
Kualanamu Airport general manager Tengku Said Ridwan said that the fee will soon be discussed with the Indonesian Consumer Foundation (YLKI), though he noted that it will be greater than Polonia’s Rp 40,000 ($4) service charge.
“Kualanamu is totally different than Polonia. Its capacity is greater, and it is four times bigger. The charge will be more than Rp 60,000,” he said.
Tengku said that airports in neighboring countries like Singapore and Malaysia have higher passenger fees compared to Indonesia.