ACCESSIBILITY to Indonesia’s Lake Toba is expected to be enhanced with an inked MoU between Angkasa Pura II airport authority and the North Tapanuli (North Sumatra) regency government for the development of Silangit Airport near the famed attraction.
Angasa Pura II president director, Tri Sunoko, said in a press statement the plan is to initially expand the runway from 2,250m to 2,400m to enable the airport to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft and boost terminal capacity from 10,000 passengers currently to one million per year.
Tri estimated the development would cost some Rp200 billion (US$16.7 million).
Accessibility has been a major issue for the development of Lake Toba as a tourist destination as it currently takes four to five hours to drive from Medan to Parapat followed by a boat ride to Samosir.
Earlier on, DetikNews reported that Indonesia minister of state enterprises, Dahlan Iskan, said the government would take two steps in supporting tourism for Lake Toba: to develop a toll road between Medan and Lake Toba, and develop Silangit Airport.
Dahlan was quoted as saying: “The development of the toll road may take around 10 years, but elevating the status of Silangit to become an airport (which can cater to direct international flights) only needs another runway that is 150m longer, 10m wider and 20cm thicker.
“When ready, flights from Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur can fly direct to (Silangit) instead of Medan.”