The Government through the Director General for Air Transportation, Herry Bakti S. Gumay, has reaffirmed that Medan's brand new Kuala Namu International Airport (code KNO) will start operations starting 00.01 hrs on Thursday, 25 July 2013, just one second after midnight when operations at Medan's old Polonia airport will close down for all commercial flights.
"All aspects pertaining to air transportation and are under the purview of the Ministry of Transportation are 100 percent ready," confirmed Bambang E Ervan, Head of Information and Communications of the Ministry of Transportation.
All airlines operating from and to Medan have also confirmed their readiness in migrating to the new KNO. Domestic airlines serving Medan include Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, Indonesia, Air Asia Wings Air, Mandala, Citilink, Susi Air. While international airlines are Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Firefly Malaysia, SilkAir and Mihinlanka from Srilanka.
Garuda's VP Corporate Communications, Pujobroto confirmed that the first Garuda aircraft to leave KNO will take off at 05.00 hrs on 25 July to arrive in Jakarta at 07.45 hrs. While the Garuda's last flight to Polonia Airport, GA 196 from Jakarta, will arrive at the old airport at 22.10 hrs West Indonesia Time on Wednesday, 24 July.
Meanwhile, Lion Air's General Director, Edward Sirait said that on 25 July, the airline will have moved all operations to the new airport, Similarly, President Director of Indonesia Air Asia, Pin Harris, confirmed that the airline will move the 3 aircrafts operating from Polonia airport to the Kuala Namu airport, while its Communicationas Manager, Audrey Progastama informed that reservations on Air Asia will also migrate from MES (for Polonia airport) to KNO, for the new Kuala Namu airport.
For the time being airport tax will remain the same as at Polonia which is Rp. 35,000 per person, but is expected to increase with better facilities offerd at the new airport.
The new Kuala Namu International airport, located in Deli Serdang, some 39 km from the city of Medan, covers a total area of 1,365 hectares, and has a capacity to handle 8.1 million passengers per year. Starting from 25 July KNO will handle 87 aircraft operations per day.
Total construction entailed Rp. 5.8 trillion, of which 59% came from the National Budget, and 49% was financed by Angkasa Pura II.
Meantime, the old Polonia Airport will be completely closed for commercial airlines and will be returned to its former use as military airfield.
Passengers urged to check in 2 hours before departure
Anticipating glitchesin the early days of operations of the new airport, all passengers are urged to arrive two (2) hours before departure. Cars and taxis from Medan will take around 1 hour and 15 minutes to one and a half hours to cover the 39 km. distance between the city and the airport. There are also Damri buses from town. Travel agents, among which Vayatour, have confirmed their readiness to serve arriving and departing passengers.
Passengers can also take the airport train that runs to the new airport leaving from Stasiun Besar, the main station in Medan. The journey takes 35 to 40 minutes.
The long drive to Kuala Namu is due to the fact that the toll road that is being built is as yet only 70% finished, its construction hampered by the problems of land acqusition.
(Sources: Kompas daily and Bisnis Indonesia).
Photo Courtesy Calvin Wisanto
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