Sidoarjo, East Java (ANTARA) - Salsabila Zada Arrafi, one of the free homecoming passengers, is all smiles since for 2023 Eid al-Fitr, she will go home from Surabaya to Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands, on an Indonesian Navy military aircraft.

This year, the Naval Aviation Center provides free homecoming flights using a fleet of military aircraft.

There was no special preparation for Arrafi to board the military airplane. She came to know about the free homecoming flight from his father and also through pamphlets circulating at the start of Ramadan.

Arrafi then tried to register herself as one of the participants. Luckily, she was able to go to her hometown and meet her family in Tanjung Pinang.

For her, taking a flight on a military plane is a matter of special pride because not all civilians can get the opportunity. Moreover, she is able to meet her family on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

"It is nice to be able to celebrate Eid with my family," she noted.

For a student living apart from her parents, she said that the free homecoming program is immensely helpful. She hoped that in future, a similar program will be implemented to facilitate more people to go home aboard military aircraft.

The Indonesian Navy Aviation Center (Puspenerbal) is conducting a free homecoming program by using the Casa NC-212 airplane. The program demonstrates the government’s role in addressing the public’s problems during Eid and also helps to reduce the density of vehicles on land routes.

Flight routes in this program are divided into two regions, i.e., west and east. The west flight routes are from Surabaya - Semarang - Jakarta and from Tanjung Pinang - Palembang - Jakarta, while the east route is Surabaya - Mataram - Kupang and Surabaya - Balikpapan - Manado and vice versa.

Passengers from Surabaya bound for Tanjung Pinang will transit at the Pondok Cabe Airport, Jakarta, to change planes. The same goes for the other way around. Passengers from Tanjung Pinang bound for Surabaya will transit at Pondok Cabe and then continue from Pondok Cabe to Surabaya.

Deputy Commander of Puspenerbal, First Admiral Bayu Alisyahbana, emphasized that his side supports the government's efforts through concrete steps to accommodate the public.

He noted that each aircraft has a total of five crew members involved. In one flight, there will be 15 passengers and five crew members, with the total people on board reaching 20.

This service can be enjoyed by the public for free. They only need to register and follow the steps written in the brochure.

In a day, there are at least two flights to accommodate homecoming travellers with different routes.

This service can help people spend Eid in their hometown. Apart from being free, the passengers do not have to reel from traffic jams on the streets. This step can also reduce the density of vehicles on land routes.

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Operates 24 hours
Meanwhile, for commercial flights, the management of Juanda International Airport in Surabaya has adjusted its operating hours to function 24 hours during the 2023 Eid homecoming period.

The regular services that usually operate 16 hours, starting at 05:00 to 21:00 local time, will change to 24 hours on April 18-30, 2023.

The management of Juanda International Airport also urges all passengers departing from Juanda International Airport to arrive two to three hours before departure.

Passengers departing via Juanda Airport on D-5 to D-1 of the Eid holidays must confirm the departure time to the airline staff and should arrive at the airport two to three hours before the departure time.

The management of Juanda International Airport is also making preparations for smooth operations during the homecoming and return flows of the Eid holidays.

The preparations include the Homecoming Air Transport Post in the lobby of Terminal 1 (T1) and Terminal 2 (T2) for 19 days from April 14 to May 2, 2023.

The post functions to assist airport officers in monitoring the flow of passengers during homecoming.

At the post, airport management coordinates with the Juanda Air Force Task, the Region III Airport Authority Office, AirNav, airlines, ground handling, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), and Customs Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ).

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Increased passengers
The management of Juanda International Airport informed that until D-4 of Eid, some 199 thousand passengers had been served.

When compared to the previous year's traffic on D-4 of Eid, with 153,206 passengers, the number of passengers this year has increased.

This figure was dominated by arriving passengers, totaling 108,608, or 54 percent of the total number of passengers.

For five days of the operation of the post, the average number of passengers per day is 39,800.

From the five days as well, the number of passengers reaching above 40 thousand occurred on D-7, or on April 15, with 40,278 passengers and on D-4, or on April 18, with 45,051 passengers.

Passenger movements are expected to remain high until the D-day of Eid al-Fitr.

The daily traffic achievement of 45,051 passengers comprises 27,716 arriving passengers and 17,335 departing passengers.

Meanwhile, aircraft traffic up to D-4 was recorded with 1,454 movements, or an increase of 22 percent, as compared to 1,190 aircraft movements in the previous year.

With the increased number of passengers that also affects aircraft flight traffic, the help from the Indonesian Navy to accommodate the public for homecoming eases the burden on airports and commercial airlines in serving passengers. Moreover, the military aircraft also offer other advantage to the people with the free-of-charge service.

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Translator: Indra Setiawan, Resinta S
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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