Soekarno-Hatta grapples with surging passenger growth

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Soekarno-Hatta International Airport will undergo a series of expansions in the coming years, as it chases rapid passenger growth.

Last year, the Jakarta airport handled 64 million passengers, far exceeding its infrastructure capacity of 22 million.

Speaking to Flightglobal on the sidelines of the ACI Annual General Assembly in Seoul, Angkasa Pura II's director of finance Laurensius Manurung says traffic at Soekarno-Hatta has grown at an average of 12% over the past five years.

AP II, which operates 13 airports across West Indonesia, including Soekarno-Hatta, forecasts that the country's capital city airport will see 109 million passengers by 2020.

Construction to expand Soekarno-Hatta's Terminal 3 started last August. The expansion will increase its capacity from 4 million to 25 million. The project, which will cost some rupiah (Rp) 4.7 trillion ($404 million), is expected to be complete by September 2015.

The airport operator has also drawn up plans to integrate the airport's Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, in order to optimise and double capacity to 37 million.

Even with these two projects, however, Soekarno-Hatta's capacity will only reach 62 million, still below the 64 million passengers it saw in 2013.

AP II thus has plans to build a fourth terminal and a third runway, estimated to cost $2 billion.

Since all 13 airports under its care are undergoing expansions, Manurung says the airport operator is looking for a "collaboration investor" to fund the construction of the fourth terminal and third runway.

The operator hopes to secure an investor by 2014, so that construction can start in 2015, and be completed by 2017. An acquisition of 830ha of land for the project is ongoing, with the provincial government having already given an in-principle approval.

Manurung says congestion at Soekarno-Hatta means it is unable to cater to the 170 requests for additional slots, either to start new services or increase frequencies on certain routes.

The airport is thus upgrading its runway configuration and building more rapid exit taxiways, as well as improving air traffic management procedures, to increase the number of aircraft it can handle. The works are expected to bring the airport's hourly aircraft movement from 62 up to 72 by July.

"After the 1998 financial crisis, traffic at the airport has grown much higher than we have expected, that's why we haven't been able to provide sufficient capacity," says Manurung.

He adds that a second airport in Jakarta is also necessary because there is no room to expand Soekarno-Hatta beyond 100 million.

Indonesia's transport ministry has said it wants to open a second major airport serving Jakarta by 2020. Detailed design of the proposed Kawarang International Airport, located east of Jakarta, is ongoing, with design of the facility to start in 2015.