JAKARTA (eTN) – Few people know that today the second busiest airport in Southeast Asia after Bangkok is Jakarta Soekarno Hatta. The airport welcomes over 38 million passengers a year with average growth rates over the last five years fluctuating between 15% and 20%. Except that the theorical airport’s capacity has been designed for only 22 million passengers. Jakarta airport is crowded, extremely crowded. Travelers will get a first hint of it when trying to reach the airport’s compound. Long queues for cars start from the airport area’s entrance, some two or three km away from the terminals.
Terminals 1 and 2, both built over 20 years ago and designed as a garden airport, have a total capacity for only 18 million people. Terminal 2 is still fine as it welcomes only international flights and Garuda, however, Terminal 1 is overcrowded all the time, as most domestic low-cost carriers fly from there. Terminal 3 – which is conceived to accommodate some 20 million passengers – for now has a capacity for only four million passengers/year, as only its first phase has been opened.
According to Tri Suriadjie Sunoko, Managing Director of Indonesia’s Airports Authority Angkasa Pura II, Jakarta is now facing a painful lack of capacity. Urgent measures will have to be rapidly taken to be sure that Soekarno Airport can cope with an output of 40 million passengers a year. Authorities are looking to centralize passenger check-in in a bid to create more space inside the terminals and reduce long queues.
Last Saturday, AP II announced to have awarded the second phase of Terminal 3 to state construction firm PT Adhi Karya. The second phase construction will cost US$ 17.5 million and must be completed within 300 days. It will add at least another capacity for 4 more million passengers. Interviewed in Jakarta Airport’s magazine “Travelounge,” Mr. Sunoko expects that passenger traffic could reach 50 million within five years, while some experts at the Ministry of Transport talk of 60 million passengers by 2015!
“This is the challenge that we must anticipate. And we can’t be anymore late to develop new facilities,” explained Angkasa Pura II General Manager. Besides Terminal 3 expansion, Mr. Sunoko evocates the development of a fourth Terminal. It could be specifically designed to answer Garuda’s requirements for an efficient hub with short transit times.
Meanwhile, the government is also considering the option to transfer some of the traffic to Jakarta-Halim Perdamakusuma, the capital’s historical airport. Halim Airport is today used only for general aviation and presidential flights. The proposal came from the Association of Indonesian Airlines (INACA). However, it might take some time before turning into reality, as the air terminal and the runway system must be upgraded.
“Jakarta must welcome passengers with world-class standards by 2014/2015,” indicated Mr. Sunoko. “Insha’Allah” would probably reply many Indonesians.