Tourism hopes high with new Yogyakarta airport starting operations end-April

Kalibiru, Yogyakarta

Trade players are eagerly anticipating the new opportunities that the long-awaited Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) will bring, when the 210,000m2 facility finally completes its first phase of development and starts operations at the end of April.

Devy Suradji, director of marketing and service of the state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I (AP I), explained in an official press statement: “Construction of YIA’s runway and terminal is almost complete, and we are targeting to operate six international flights, two return services from Singapore, and four flights to and from Kuala Lumpur.”

Kalibiru, Yogyakarta

Airlines from Qatar, Turkey, the UAE, Japan and Australia have also expressed interest in opening direct flights to the new airport.

YIA will have a 3,250m by 45m runway, which will be able to accommodate wide-body aircraft and 300 landing slots. The new airport has a capacity of 14 million passengers per year, nine times the capacity of existing Adisutjipto International Airport.

Development of the new gateway is expected to complete by the end of year, Devy added.

He said: “When the airport is fully operated, we will relocate 30 per cent of domestic flights and all international flights from Adisutjipto Airport. This is expected to reduce the burden on Adisutjipto Airport, which serves about 8.4 million passengers annually.”

Adisutjipto Airport is currently the backbone of Yogyakarta tourism, but its capacity has come under strain and delays frequent amid tourism’s rapid growth.

According to AP 1, the ideal capacity of Adisucipto Airport is 1.7 million passengers per year. However, the airport’s passenger flow has reached 8.4 million people in 2018 with 188 domestic flights and six international flights per day.

Denny Ristyanto, director of sales and marketing of Yogyakarta Marriott Hotel, believes the new airport would be a game changer for Yogyakarta.

He said: “YIA has undoubtedly become an important force in leading the development of Yogyakarta’s tourism sector and will definitely increase inbound travellers.”

Udhi Sudiyanto, owner of Antar Anda Tour and Travel, is optimistic that YIA will become tourism hub in Java Island, after Jakarta. “YIA may become a main (gateway) for Yogyakarta, Solo and Semarang (Joglosemar),” he said.

But Widodo Nugroho, owner of Jogja Geowisata, has other concerns. “The distance from the Yogyakarta city centre to the new airport is about one to two hours by car (under the current road structure). In addition, the main road to the new airport is still narrow, there is only one lane for four-wheeled vehicles. If the government does not immediately expand the road and build a highway (the city has been planning), this will disrupt tourists’ comfort.”

Until the local government shows its commitment to improve road infrastructure and attract international airlines, Yogyakarta won’t be able to fully reap the benefits the new airport will bring, said Denny.

“It may take three or four year to see the impact, as tourism stakeholders still expect a number of improvements in infrastructure such as the construction of road access in Yogyakarta,” he remarked.

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