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On Friday 10 January 2014, the government of Indonesia opened Halim Airport for scheduled commercial flights. Previously, the only airport that served these types of flights around Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta and surrounding towns was the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Soetta), located in Cengkareng (Banten). However, the amount of daily passengers at Soetta has exceeded its capacity. Based on data from Airports Council International, released in 2013, Soetta is the world's tenth busiest airport.
According to Angkasa Pura II, the state-owned company that operates Soetta, the airport served around 57 million passengers in 2012. For the year 2013, the number of passengers is expected to reach a total of 62 million passengers, while the airport was designed to handle a combined 22 million passengers only in its three terminals. Therefore, Angkasa Pura II decided to increase the airport's capacity. Terminal III is now under construction so that its new capacity will reach 25 million passengers per year (terminal III alone). Additional capacity expansion will be conducted in stages and is expected to be initiated in the third quarter of 2014.
Opening of Halim Airport as Another Solution
The solution to Soetta's problem is not only in expansion of the airport's passenger capacity. The government also decided to open Halim Airport (which is usually used for VVIPs and military flights) for commercial flights. The airport, which was established in 1974, has an annual passenger capacity of approximately 2.2 million people (about five percent of total passenger capacity of Soetta).
Commercial flights from Halim Airport started on Friday 10 January 2014. Telecommunication facilities at the airport have been prepared by another state-owned enterprise, Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom). Telkom created additional access points for wifi internet services as well as a combat macro and one BTS micro system (by Telkomsel, subsidiary of Telkom).
When the infrastructure is fully ready, a number of airlines will move several flights to Halim Airport. Citilink Indonesia, subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia, is one of these airlines. Each day, there will be 16 Citilink flights scheduled to four routes through Halim Airport. Citilink is optimistic that Halim Airport can account for 1.1 million passengers of the company's total of 8.5 million passenger target in 2014. The company further stated that this airport has a strategic location because it is located in the city of Jakarta.
Full-service airlines, such as Garuda Indonesia, are also planning to move some of its flights to Halim Airport. At Soetta, Garuda operates 520 flights on a daily basis. Now, however, the airline plans to move ten daily flights to Halim. These flights are the ones that are considered as the most busy routes, such as those to Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Semarang. Garuda is currently in talks with Indonesia's Ministry of Transportation to arrange its expansion to Halim.
Although there are a number of airlines that will move flights to Halim, the Ministry of Transportation stated that the use of Halim airport is only a temporary solution. The Ministry stated that the use of the airport for scheduled commercial flights may not last beyond 2024.
To overcome the density of passenger traffic at Soetta, the ministry pointed out that a new airport, with an annual capacity of 70 million passengers, is needed. The Karawang regency (West Java), located not far from Jakarta, is considered as a suitable place for the construction of this airport. The costs of the construction are expected to total IDR 10 trillion (USD $833 million). Through a public-private partnership structure with the Indonesian government, this airport is expected to be ready for take-off within 5 to 6 years.