Sumatra’s Bangka Belitung province is set to become Indonesia’s next top beach destination with a project to redevelop the Hanandjoeddin Airport to service international flights expected to more than triple annual visitors to the islands.
Currently, the Hanandjoeddin Airport is operated by the Technical Implementation Unit but will be moved under state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II to manage as an international airport.
“Hanandjoeddin has been prepared for its change of status. Angkasa Pura II is ready to coordinate operations under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport. We are also being guided by the General Directorate of Aerial Transportation,” Angkasa Pura II President Director Muhammad Awaluddin said.
The operator has budgeted Rp.300 billion (US$22.53 million) to develop the airport, including terminals, aprons and the taxiway, Awaluddin said.
“We consider development of the terminals a must. However, for the runway, we will still maintain the existing ones,” he said.
Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said the development will see capacity increased at the airport. Currently, 13 flights operate at Hanandjoeddin carrying around 800,000 passengers to island annually. After the upgrades Sumadi has targeted 3 million passengers a year.
Belitung has been the focus of government development in recent years as the next hot tourist destination. The island’s stunning beaches and greenery is expected to attract tourists both domestic and foreign.
The establishment of the Tanjung Kelayang Special Economic Zone in the Bangka Belitung province has attracted investment from some of the tourism sector’s global leading names — including Sheraton, Sofitel and China Harbour — equaling around Rp.14.1 trillion (US$1.06 billion).
Image credits: Good News from Indonesia