Bintan: Indonesian hub Singapore-style

bintanSingapore-based developer Gallant Venture and Indonesian flag-carrier PT Garuda Indonesia have signed an MOU to turn Bintan Airport, Indonesia, into a major aviation hub.

The MOU will see the current airport, with its single 2,250m runway, developed into a sizeable facility with two 3,600m runways, an extensive MRO capability, and support and training facilities.

Situated a few miles from Singapore’s east coast, it is in close proximity to Singapore’s Changi Airport, and also just miles from Lion Air’s new hub on Batam Island.

Garuda CEO Emirsyah Satar said the new facility will offer three hangars and more MRO capability than the airline’s currently overloaded base at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. “This is a major development for us. It means we will be able to do our MRO right here, without sending our aircraft to Europe,” he said, adding he sees a tourism future for Bintan as good as that enjoyed by Bali.

The newly developed airport includes plans for an adjacent 177 hectare Aerospace Industry Park, complete with engineering facilities, engine manufacturing and assembly, and also an Aviation Academy.

Describing the deal as a “major milestone” Satar said the MRO capability will start ramp up from second quarter, with projected numbers of around 2,000 technicians by end 2015. First scheduled Garuda flights from the airport are anticipated late 2015.

Initial plans to develop an airport near the resorts zone on Bintan were shelved due to an unsuitable position, and lack of expansion capacity.

With an initial investment of $300 million, developer Gallant Venture said it is already in discussions with other non-Indonesian airlines about using the facility as a major destination. It is also in talks with Changi Airport with a view to cooperating on various initiatives, added Gallant Venture CEO Eugene Park.

“The big plus we offer is that we can guarantee Singapore-level quality of infrastructure; we own the land and can develop it properly,” he said.