A Garuda Indonesia flight will take off from the brand new Kuala Namu International Airport in North Sumatra on 25 July 2013, marking the start of operations at the hub.
Upon opening, the new airport will take over from Medan’s Polonia International Airport as the new gateway for the North Sumatra region. It will become the second largest and second busiest airport in Indonesia, after Jakarta’s Soekharno-Hatta International Airport, with room to grow even bigger in future.
Kuala Namu Airport has a 3,750-metre-long runway capable of handling all wide-bodied aircraft, including the Airbus A380. The airport’s 6.5-hectare terminal is built to serve nine million passengers in its first phase, rising to 16m in its second phase and potentially even more in future decades.
And while it lies further outside Medan than Polonia Airport, it will be connected to the city by an airport rail line, which will be able to carry 172 passengers 15 times a day.
“[We] are confirmed 100% ready to operate,” said Salahuddin Rafi, airport director of the hub’s state-run operator, PT Angkasa Pura II. “During the transition period, Medan will be served by two airports simultaneously, as Polonia airport will continue to operate, while Kuala Namu undergoes its initial operations.”
Construction of Kuala Namu International Airport was originally planned in 1991 and has been delayed a number of times. The onset of the ASEAN open skies agreement in 2015 however, has focused Indonesian authorities’ attention on making Sumatra a regional development hub.
Medan is currently served by several domestic and regional carriers, including Garuda, Lion Air, SilkAir, AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines.