President Jokowi officiated on Wednesday the launch of the renovated-Rembele Airport in Aceh, which was expanded in a bid to boost tourist arrivals to the Gayo highlands.
Rembele airport is located in Bener Meriah district in the most western province of Aceh at a height of about 1,400 meters above sea level.
Before the extension of the airport’s runaway, only Fokker 50 or CN 235 aircraft could land at the Rembele airport, while reaching the area via land takes six hours from Banda Aceh and eight hours from Medan.
The upgrade of the Rembele airport facilities was carried out in 2014 and 2015.
The improvement of the airport facilities include an extension of its runway from the previous size of 30 x 1,400 meters to 30 x 2,250 meters and the expansion of the apron from 80 x 106 meters to 95 x 150 meters.
Now, Rembele airport is able to accommodate big aircraft such as the Boeing 737-series.
Following the inauguration, Rembele airport will become the main gateway for the Central Aceh highlands, which are famous for their natural attractions and the Gayo coffee that is exported to Europe.
“The airport, whose construction began in early 2000, has a role in stimulating economic growth in the central region of Aceh,” stated Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah.
Zaini noted that the airport will be able to facilitate access to tourists and businesses to the land of Gayo, and so, the opportunity to develop the potential of this area will be more open.
With regard to ground facilities, the governor explained that the airport terminal had been expanded from initially 400 square meters to one thousand square meters, and the interiors of the terminal had also been revamped.
The expansion of the airport terminal is projected to be able to accommodate 200 thousand passengers per year.
After the ceremony, Jokowi will return to Kualanamu airport in North Sumatra to continue his official tour of the province.
In North Sumatra, Jokowi will inspect the construction of the Medan – Kuala Namu – Tebing Tinggi highway and the revitalization of the 80-km trans Sumatra railway linking Binjai and Besitang.
He will also attend the groundbreaking of an elevated railway project in Medan comprising an 8-kilometer track linking Medan station to Bandar Khalipah station, the presidential office reported. (bbn)(+)