"We will be ready to operate the Pondok Cabe airport commercially. We hope it will be fully in operation by March 2016," Garuda president director Arif Wibowo said on the sidelines of the signing of a head of agreement on synergy in business operation between Garuda and Pertamina here on Monday.
Arif said the takeover of the operation of the Pondok Cabe airport is part of the synergy agreement between the two state companies to increase added value in line with the instruction of the minister for state enterprises.
The Pondok Cabe airport meets the conditions for a commercial airport that could accommodate aircraft of ATR 72-600 class with a seat capacity of 72 passengers.
The airport is designed to serve flights between Tangerang and eight other cities including Lubuk Linggau, Pangkalan Bun, Palembang, Semarang, Ketapang, Jogjakarta, Tanjung Karang, and Cilacap.
"The routes could also be selected to serve flights to Pertaminas operational area of its oil refineries. Pertamina has a number of units of aircraft Pelita Air Service that would need adequate airports," Arif said.
Garuda will first repair the 1,984 meter long and 45 meter wide runway of the airport and terminal facility.
"The entire cost will be paid by Pertamina and Garuda will serve only as the operator and handle aircraft maintenance," Arif said .
He predicted in the first days of its operation the airport would serve 50 flights per day incoming and outgoing.
"With ATR aircraft having a carrying capacity of 72 passengers and with frequency of 50 flights per day , the Pondok Cabe airport will serve 3,600 passengers per day," he said.
Meanwhile, Pertamina President Director Dwi Sutjipto said synergy with Garuda would strengthen the position of Pertamina both nationally and regionally.
"Business potentials in which Pertamina and Garuda could work in synergy include in the aircraft maintenance facility of Pelita Air Services," Dwi said.
The Pondok Cabe airport occupies a land plot of 110 hectares.
He said commercial operation of airports of Pertamina could contribute to additional income of Rp40 billion-Rp50 billion per year.
Pertamina and Garuda would also cooperate in the sales of aircraft fuels Avtur and bio-fuel to all Garuda aircraft at a competitive price.
"Utilization of other assets and customer networks could be maximized between the two companies," Dwi said.
Meanwhile, Minister for State Enterprises Rini Soemarno said with the synergy Pertamina could be focused more on its oil and gas business.
It no longer needs to burden itself with any problem in airport and flights, the minister said.
"Pertamina has activities in various areas that are not easy to reach, therefore cooperation with Garuda, which has experience in flight and operation of commercial airports would help," she said.
Now what is more important is to secure the license to operate the Pondok Cabe airport commercially from the transport ministry.(*)