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Coping urgently with congestion at Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport

With exploding numbers of passengers and rocketing aircraft movements, the Indonesian government looks at ways of speeding up infrastructure development at Indonesia premier airport, Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International.

JAKARTA – It is a daily nightmare for passengers, pilots, airlines: Jakarta international Airport in Cengkareng, with a capacity of only 22 million passengers, must now care for over 60 million of travellers annually. And despite palliative measures such as the reactivation of the historical Jakarta airfield in Halim- which could maybe relieve Soekarno Hatta airport by 1 to 2 million passengers, the situation continues to worsen as more and more Indonesian can afford now to fly.
The government is now looking at ways to speed up investments at the airport, following years of neglect. The government is ready to invest US$ 350 million to clear land around the airport for the construction of a third runway with a length of 3,600 meters. According to information provided by the airport’s authority Angkasa Pura II, construction for the new runway could start early 2016 with a possible completion at the end of the same year. Once finished, it would allow the airport to handle up to 100 air movements per hour compared to 64 now and 72 movements from June.  It would then help the airport to increase its capacity to over 85 million passengers a year. 
Currently, we are waiting for the master plan to be approved,” said AP II corporate secretary Daryanto to the Indonesian publication Kontan. He added that the airport authority would then discuss land acquisition with the local government. Another urgent work is the increasing capacity at all terminals. US$ 2 billion have been set to develop the airport between 2010 and 2016 but little has been so far done. By next year, Terminal 3, currently with a capacity for 4 million passengers will be completed to accommodate 25 million of travellers. It will still bring some relief to crowded terminals but this will still not be sufficient. By then capacity at the airport will only represent 48 million passengers compared to a likely total passengers output of 65 million…
Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said the construction of another runway was the only solution, before the development of Karawang Airport, just east of Jakarta, begins next year.
According to Angkasa Pura II, the revitalization of both Terminal 1 and 2 started or will soon start. Terminal 2 will see its capacity growing from 9 to 19 million passengers as the terminal’s surface will grow from 155,000 m2 to 168,500 m2. Work is due for completion by 2016. A year later, a revitalized Terminal 1 will be able to accommodate 18 million passengers from 10 million by expanding it to 204,445 m2 from 144,635 m2 . Completion is expected by 2017. 
In the meantime, according to the Ministry of Transportation, the relocation of commercial flights to Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta is helping to ease congestion at Soekarno Hatta. In the longer term, a brand new Greenfield airport is due to take shape in Karawan, East of Jakarta. The airport would also be able to serve West Java with Bandung and Bogor. Works are due to start by next year but it might take a decade before the airport opens its doors to traffic. 
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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.