"The assigned funding from the States National Budget (APBN) is to be channeled for land acquisition for developing the airport. We will evaluate whether land- or sea-based development is the best way forward based on the outcomes of a feasibility study," Ende District Deputy Head Djafar Ahmad stated here on Monday.
There are plans to extend the 1,650-meter-long runway of Haji Hasan Aroeboesman Airport to over two thousand meters.
Ahmad remarked that the airport was being developed to offer greater access to Ende to draw more visitors to the district's tourism attractions.
Revealing other details, Ahmad stated that the government had worked consistently to record a boost in tourist arrivals from Bali to Ende by opening the Denpasar-Ende route.
"We have often held discussions with some travel agents in Bali over operating flights on the Denpasar-Ende route, so that tourists experiencing boredom in Denpasar can head to Ende and its adjoining area," he explained.
Moreover, he noted that ATR-type aircraft would subsequently not be allowed permission to land in Denpasar. Hence, the Haji Hasan Aroeboesman airport's development is deemed necessary to accommodate these aircraft.
Moreover, if Garuda airlines begins operating flights on the route to Ende, the airport flight service will become busier to accommodate 10 additional daily flights.
"Hence, the airport in Ende will become the second busiest in NTT after El Tari Kupang Airport, and it will certainly attract more tourists," Ahmad added.