Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo has targeted to commence operations at the third runway of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, in July 2019.

"Currently, 86 percent (of the construction of the runway) has been completed; we hope that by the end of this month it will be 100 percent complete and commence operations in July," President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, said after an inspection of the construction site on Friday.

The President visited the location exactly a year ago on June 21, 2018.

The government has worked on two projects at the airport, namely the development of a 3,000-meter runway and a 3,160-meter taxiway with a total budget of Rp1.5 trillion. The construction of the runway began in March 2018 but is hindered by the problem of land release.

"Now, we have 81 (aircraft) movements per hour. With a third additional runway, it can increase to 120 movements per hour. The increase is significant, some 50 percent, thus enabling us to meet the demands of foreign airlines," he said.

Jokowi admitted that airlines from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and China have asked him to increase the capacity at the airport.

"All of them wanted to enter (the airport) but the slots are full. Now, we will have a larger space for them to land at the Soetta (Soekarno-Hatta) Airport," he elaborated.

Meanwhile, the development of Terminal 4 of the airport is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

"Two years ago, I ordered the President Director (of PT Angkasa Pura) and (Transportation) Minister to prepare the design of Terminal 4. The design is ready. We hope that by 2021, the construction of Terminal 4 can be completed," he noted.

With its four terminals, the airport has the capacity to accommodate 110 million passengers.

With the huge increase in the number of flights, Jokowi added that the government would need to balance it with the development of runways, taxiways, as well as terminals. "Development of infrastructure must precede the growth."

The president has also planned to improve access to the airport by train.

"We already have the airport train. Later, maybe we can have the LRT (Light Rapid Transit) here, or the fast train to Soetta Airport," Jokowi said.

Translator: Desca Lidya, Sri Haryati
Editor: Bambang Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2019