Jokowi opens first eco-friendly, floating airport
Indonesia has reached another infrastructure milestone with the completion of the new Ahmad Yani International Airport in Semarang, Central Java. While not the biggest, it is the first eco-friendly floating airport in the country. President Joko Widodo led the inauguration and was pleasantly surprised that it was completed six months ahead of its initial deadline.
- President Joko Widodo inaugurated the new terminal of Ahmad Yani International Airport, Semarang, Central Java Province on Thursday 7 June. Jokowi said the airport was originally the Indonesian Military Airbase, which was developed into a domestic and international airport.
- “The new Ahmad Yani International Airport is part of revamping the sky gate in Central Java,” Jokowi said through an official statement.
- The new terminal has a total area of 58,652 square meters or nearly nine times larger than the old terminal which was 6,708 square meters. Area expansion will increase passenger capacity.
- “The airport, which used to accommodate 800,000 people a year has leapt to a capacity of 6.5 million passengers a year, increasing nearly eightfold,” he said.
- In addition to the increase of passengers, the new airport will also increase cargo service to 16,000 tons per year from only 10,000 tons per year.
- “This will open up opportunities for overseas cargo business,” said Jokowi.
- The new terminal is equipped with three passenger boarding bridges and 30 inspection counters to accelerate airline passenger service.
- The new terminal apron reaches 72,522 square meters to accommodate 12 slim body planes or ten lean body planes, and two wide-bodied cargo planes.
- The new terminal of Ahmad Yani Airport is built on swamps, so it looks as if it is floating. This airport still maintains the surrounding ecosystem because of its environmentally-friendly concept.
- “It means planting more mangroves on each side of the airport to make it truly environmentally friendly,” said Jokowi.
- The President also applauded the architecture, and believes traffic flow in and out of the airport will be better. However, he asked Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi to increase the length of the runway, which is now 2,500 meters, to 3,000 meters by the end of next year.
- The airport is called the first floating terminal in Indonesia. However, this terminal is not positioned above water. So, why is it called a floating airport?
- “The terminal is built on a marsh and in the construction process we built foundations. The purpose was to reduce the environmental impact by maintaining the brackish water source. It is categorised as a floating terminal because it is constructed above a swamp,” explained Angkasa Pura I Israwadi, Corporate Secretary.
- This concept is similar to the floating mosque in Makassar. The mosque is built on a foundation on the beach, which makes it appear to be floating on the water during the tide.
- Jokowi expressed his appreciation to the completion of Ahmad Yani Airport. During the building period, he never once checked on its progress.
- “I usually check the progress for other airports, but not this one. I am very pleasantly surprised,” he said after the inauguration.
- “I am surprised because we had targeted the airport to be completed in December 2018. But we can see today it is already complete and can be used.”
- Jokowi was also amazed at the architecture that adopted an eco-green concept and compared it to the newly opened Kertajati Airport in West Java. “I have just flown in from Kertajati. I can say that they are equally good, but the environment here is more beautiful,” he said.
- In addition to inaugurating a new terminal, Jokowi also inaugurated a new tower from the Institute of Air Navigation Services Indonesia or AirNav Indonesia at the airport.