Labuan Bajo, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated the expanded Komodo International Airport in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, on Thursday.

"Labuan Bajo is (now) complete. There is culture, the scenery is amazing, the beaches are beautiful, and there is something that does not exist anywhere else in the world. It is the Komodo (dragons) on Komodo Island and Rinca Island. We must use this power to prosper our people here," Jokowi remarked at the inauguration of the expanded Komodo International Airport in Labuan Bajo, Thursday.

Jokowi explained that the terminal facilities at Komodo International Airport will continue to be improved in line with the community's needs.

Currently, Komodo International Airport has a runway spanning a length of 2,600 meters. The president said if another 100 meters are added, then the airport can serve wide-bodied aircraft.

"If (it) cannot be done this year, (then) next year (it) must be," the head of state emphasized while being greeted with applause from the invitees.

Jokowi assessed that the airport's expansion would facilitate direct flights from overseas to Labuan Bajo, thereby making it more popular globally.

The inauguration of the expanded airport was marked by the beating of a gendang, a traditional drum, by the president. Jokowi also signed the inscription of the launch of the airport expansion.

Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi explained that the development work on Komodo International Airport had covered more than 115 hectares. However, the airport, which is the air gateway to Flores Island, still serves narrow-bodied aircraft.

As one of the 10 "New Bali" tourist destinations, Komodo International Airport is developed through consistent expansion of airport facilities by the Transportation Ministry.

Sumadi said that if an additional 100-meter runway is readied, then Komodo International Airport can serve wide-bodied aircraft that usually clocked 10 hours of flight time.

In addition, the Transportation Ministry has expanded 15 thousand square meters of the airport by designing it with a traditional and modern touch with motifs of Songke Mata Manuk.

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Translator: Fransiska N, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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