Wednesday, 18 July 2012


To step up services and anticipate growing number of users of air transportation, expansion of airports and infra structure was needed. Today, of the 25 commercial airport run by PT Angkasa Pura I, nearly all of them were having over capacity and needed expansion in order to serve well.

It seemed reasonable that the Government allowed opportunity for the third party to participate in airport development projects. Airports which were of commercial value were better be offered to private operators so the Government could concentrate more on managing airports of less commercial value to open access to isolated regions.

For that matter it was best for the Government to evaluate which airport should collaborate with private operators and which airport should be privatized. The Government’s policy was worthy of appreciation because it was a notable breakthrough.

As know, infra-structure building for example were the important factor supportive to economic development. Inter-regional, inter-provincial or inter insular connectivity would be cheaper with frequent airlinks and professionally managed airports by private operations or new airport run by the Government.

Very frequently word was out that the Soekarno Hatta airport in Cengkareng, Banten was overcrowded and might endanger air traffic. This was because the Soetta airport was the center of air traffic for arrivals as well as departures. If other airports in the regions were renovated and upgraded it would be supportive to air traffic and passengers handling at Soetta airport.

What’s more, if airport which served as points of destination for tourists or other potential airports in the regions were upgraded, it might lessen passengers’ flow to Soetta airport. Today many foreign and local tourists were concentrated in Jakarta because of the better airport and letter access to tourist objects.

Yogyakarta, Denpasar, Balikpapan, Banjarmasin, and Manado with all the panoramic tourist attractions had the potential to drum up more tourists if the airport were modernized. If necessary the Government could be engaged with the private sector in project investments based on build, operate and transfer (BOT) concept.

The private companies who modernized the airport might be given the concession to manage the airport over a certain period, for example 25 years. In the affirmative case the public would be happy with airport facilities and services. Broadly speaking airports run by the private sector tend to be better than being managed by the Government.

Today the number of airport in Indonesia was posted at 223, consisting 25 airports managed by BUMN, i.e. 13 airport run by PT Angkasa Pura 1 and 12 airport run by Angkasa II and one airport run by PT Freeport Indonesia; the rest were under the supervision of the Directorate General of Air Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation.

As whole the physical condition of airport in Indonesia were varied. Some were adequate and in accordance with international standard so they deserved to be called international airport but some airport were in poor condition as they were not properly maintained.

The disheartening thing was that some airports were too closely located to people’s settlements of office buildings which might endanger the people and airlines. A condition as such made it difficult for pilots to make maneuvers or smooth and safe landing.

It seemed reasonable that some cities like Medan and Yogyakarta planned to relocate their airports to some better spots; a proposal as such needed support whereby to create a safe and comfortable mode of transportation.

Again the government was engaged in collaboration with the private sector in managing airport for the future. To avoid future polemics, it would be better for the Government cq the Ministry of Transportation to communicate with the Parliament to appoint the private sector as developer and operator of commercial airports.

Beside better airport to be managed by private operators considering the vast development of airline business and the future application of ASEAN OPEN SKIES 2015 and ASEAN SINGLE FLIGHT 2020, Indonesia would need 4,000 pilots, 7,500 technicians and 1,000 air controllers.

To meet those challenges the Association of Indonesia Air Regulators (INACA) in collaboration with the Human Resources Development Agency, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Communication and Transportation held the first international convention with focus on training of air personnel for Indonesia needs.

Today school of aviation were growing fast in Indonesia in tandem with operation of new aircrafts around 8% per year. Still schools of aviation in Indonesia were unable to keep up with the growing demand in this sector.

Indonesia with a population of 240 million only had 13 schools of aviation compared to other countries which were just as populous as Indonesia. for example the USA who had 1,076 aviation schools and Uni Europe having 369 schools.

To keep up with the exploding demand for pilots, if the national schools of aviation were not able to meet the need, collaboration could be run between local schools and foreign schools. Pilot candidates had been sent overseas to study flying techniques.

Other pragmatic way was to employ foreign pilots who were experienced to work with national airlines. Local airlines employing foreign pilots were commonplace, and other countries were doing the same, and in many cases Indonesian pilots worked for foreign airlines.

The conclusion was that development of airports undertaken by the third party and employment of qualified pilots became an urgent matter as homework for the Government so the national airline industry might grow sustainably.  

 Business News - July 6, 2012

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