Palu airport to repair facilities damaged in 2018 quake

Palu airport to repair facilities damaged in 2018 quake

The passenger terminal at Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi. (ANTARA/Basri Marzuki).

Palu, Central Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport, Palu, has confirmed it has begun a project this month to repair facilities damaged by the 2018 earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi and upgrade existing facilities.

According to Palu Airport's head, Ubaedillah, the airport revamp project will cover repairs to the airport terminal, supporting facilities, and 250 meters of the southern side of the runway that was damaged due to liquefaction in the 2018 earthquake.

The landside part of the airport terminal will be repaired first under the project, he informed. At present, the terminal is operating at 60 percent capacity, as both end sides of the terminal—which were significantly damaged in the quake—are yet to be repaired, he said.

"We have also requested the Transportation Ministry to beautify and modernize the terminal during the renovation project," Ubaedillah said.

The project is expected to take around 1.5 months to complete, with the works scheduled to be commenced in January 2022, he informed.

The repairs will be performed by a third-party company, he said.

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"Airport facilities that will undergo the revamping process are expected to be operational by May or June 2023, and we hope the Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport could become an icon for Central Sulawesi province upon completion of the revamping project," Ubaedillah remarked.

The airport head assured that flight activities and passenger movement at the airport will not be disrupted by the project.

The Transportation Ministry has also cooperated with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund the project, he added.

In the future, the airport will upgrade its 2,500-meter runway to allow larger aircraft than Boeing 737-900, currently the largest aircraft the airport can serve, to land, Ubaedillah said.

"We need assistance from the regional authority to elevate the Mutiara SIS Al-Jufri Airport status to be an international airport, as they also targeted the airport becoming a Hajj embarkation point in the future," the airport head stated.

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