Indonesia plans to develop northern Sumatra airport to rival Singapore's Changi, Kuala Lumpur

Aviation Updates Philippines – Indonesia is seeking to expand Kualanamu Airport in Northern Sumatra in western Indonesia into a major regional air hub to rival the likes of Singapore's Changi and Kuala Lumpur.

Image: Aerial view of Kualanamu International Airport, Medan, Indonesia (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The local-state operator of the airport Angkasa Pura II will be partnering with Indian-French JV GMR Airports to develop the airport, after GMR Airports was recently awarded a contract worth around USD $6 Billion to operate the airport. Both GMR Airports and Angkasa Pura II will be forming a joint venture named Angkasa Pura Aviasi for the operations of Kualanamu Airport.

Map Credit: Google Maps

Together, the partners plan to expand the airport and raise the number of passenger traffic from around the 10 million a year it served prior to the pandemic to around 54 million.

"We know that Kualanamu has a very strategic position," said Indonesia's Deputy State Enterprise Minister Kartika Wirjoatmodjo in Indonesia's parliament on Thursday. " It has a large capacity and can be scaled up into a world-class airport."

Srinivas Bommidala, chairman for energy and international airports at GMR Group, was quoted in a report by the Nikkei Asian Review saying the Kualanamu partnership signals GMR Airports' entry into Indonesia's growing aviation market, adding in a statement that the group is committed to "transforming the airport into an international hub in western Indonesia regions."

Opened in 2013, Kualanamu International Airport is located 39 kilometers east of Medan. Along with Medan, it is the main airport of northern Sumatra on the western part of Indonesia. It is the 3rd biggest and 5th busiest airport in the country.