Siaran Pers

Jakarta - Silangit International Airport in North Tapanuli began earlier this week serving the flight of Boeing 737-800 Next Generation (NG) class aircraft.

This is good news for the national tourism sector, especially the Lake Toba tourist area.

Sriwijaya Air is the first airline to operate the Boeing 737-800 NG on the Jakarta - Silangit route since the beginning of this week.

Previously, Sriwijaya Air used a Boeing Classic aircraft with a capacity of 120 passengers or fewer compared to the 737-800 NG which could carry 189 passengers.

President Director of PT Angkasa Pura II (Persero) Muhammad Awaluddin said tourism in Lake Toba will increasingly grow along with the increased ability of Silangit Airport to serve flights.

"The airline welcomes because Silangit can now land 737-800 NG aircraft or classmates such as 737-900 ER and Airbus A320, because operational costs can be reduced considerably and on the other hand passenger seat capacity is actually increasing."

After Sriwijaya Air, Garuda Indonesia plans to also operate 737-800 NG on the Jakarta-Silangit route starting February 18, 2019. Previously, Garuda used a Bombardier CRJ-1000 type aircraft with a capacity of under 100 passengers.

It is expected that in the near future, one more airline will open direct flights on the Jakarta - Silangit route.

"Before this, there were doubts on the part of airlines to open flights at Silangit Airport because only certain types of aircraft could land, even though the national airline fleet was strengthened by 737-800 NG, 737-900 ER and Airbus A320. But now, airlines will be very interested in opening flights at Silangit Airport, "explained Muhammad Awaluddin.

In addition to increasing runway capacity, AP II will also expand aircraft passenger terminals up to five times from the current 2,500 square meters to 10,499 square meters.

The expansion of the terminal allows Silangit Airport to accommodate up to 1 million passengers per year, from the moment only around 500,000 passengers.

On one occasion, President Joko Widodo also said that the development of Silangit Airport had been carried out and it was now better.

"I ask to improve, improve the runway, extend the runway, expand the terminal," said the President.

Now, the President continued, based on reports received by him, flights to Silangit are always full.

President Jokowi also emphasized that Lake Toba was included in 4 priority areas to be developed among 10 regions that were prepared to become New Bali.

"The government has 10 New Bali programs, from which there are 4 priorities to be developed and one of them is the Lake Toba area. AP II will support the Lake Toba region as a priority by committing to build the Silangit Airport, "said Muhammad Awaluddin.

The number of airplane passengers at Silangit continues to grow significantly every year. In 2016 passenger movements were recorded at 155,214 people, then up 82% in 2017 to 282,586 people.

Then in 2018 passenger movements were recorded at 425,476 people, up 50.56% compared to 2017.