Sultan Iskandar Muda expected to become transit airport

Banda Aceh (ANTARA News) - Sultan Iskandar Muda (SIM) airport in Aceh Province is expected to be an international transit aerodrome, a local government official said here on Sunday.

"We hope SIM will one day become a transit airport, especially for the wide-body airplanes from the Middle East countries for refueling before continuing their flights to the city or the country of destination," Aceh provincial government spokesman T Setia Budi said in Banda Aceh on Sunday.

He made the statement in the sidelines of the inaugural celebration to mark the first landing Boeing 747-400 at Sultan Iskandar Muda airport on Sunday morning.

Setia Budi explained that the airport, which was heavily damaged by a devastating tsunami on December 26, 2004 but was then renovated after that, has 3,000-meter runway for wide-body jet liners.

"It means the airport has adequate facility and infrastructure to be a transit aerodrome for airplanes from other countries, especially from the Middle East, before continuing their flights to the city or country of destination," Setia Budi said.

Meanwhile, Aceh Provincial Legislative Assembly deputy chairman Sulaiman Abda said the presence of Boeing 747-400 in Ace was a special pride and appreciation for the local people.

"The presence of Boeing 747-400 jetliner at Sultan Iskandar Muda proves that the airport is is worthy of being a transit aerodrome for airplanes from other countries," Sulaiman said.

SIM airport management company PT Angkasa Pura-II General Manager Wasfan Widodo said his party was ready to complete various supporting facilities to make it an international transit airport.

"The existing facilities are already available but we will continue to improve it to make the airport a future international transit aerodrome," Wasfan said.  (*)

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