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Airports - Infrastructure
Friday, 31/05/2020, 19:49:28 PM
Yudhoyono officiates international airport
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President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono on Thursday inaugurated the Sultan Muda Iskandar International Airport, a major airport that has been rebuilt following the 2007 tsunami and civil strife in Aceh.

The reconstruction began in 2007 using a modern Aceh architecture concept and annexed with a new building spanning 14,144 square meters and able to accommodate 1.75 million passengers annually.

The project cost Rp 744 billion (US$74.4 million) from the state, and provincial budgets as well as funds from the Aceh Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR).

Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said the international airport would not boost regional income if the central government failed to impose visa-on-arrival facilities at the airport.

"I urge the President to ask the related institutions to approve the visa-on-arrival permit."

He said should the central government issue a permit to the Aceh administration to issue visa-on-arrival permits to visitors, it could obtain income from the province by boosting tourist arrivals, especially from Asian countries, given the beauty and potential of Aceh as a tourist destination.

Irwandi also believed Aceh would be able to attract investors thanks to the upgrade in status to an international airport.

SBY immediately responded to the request. He promised that in the near future he would coordinate the matter with the relevant institutions to immediately issue a regulation to approve the visa-on-arrival service to visitors, especially prospective investors.

"I will immediately discuss the matter with the relevant agencies, so it can be implemented in Aceh."

He advised Irwandi to forge cooperation with other countries carefully for the sake of the people, and prevent issues that might burdenthe provincial administration and government.

In his keynote speech, SBY said the presence of the international airport could spur economic growth in Aceh.

"Every infrastructure project built with such a huge sum of funds must be maintained at its best so it can be useful to improve the economy in Aceh."

SBY also reminded the Aceh administration to maintain peace and security in Aceh.

He said Aceh should implement the five priorities of the development agenda, one of them the reintegration process between former Aceh Freedom Movement (GAM) combatants and members of the general public.

He also believed that the 30-year conflict had still left behind differences between various parties involved in the conflict.

"If the reintegration process is not carried out well, we believe it could hamper the peace process that we have initiated so far in Aceh, and that is the duty of the government."

SBY also called on the Aceh administration to implement the development programs that could improve public welfare and peace in Aceh, especially in the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.


Hotli Simanjuntak ,  The Jakarta Post

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