Indonesia’s new airport terminal beset by multiple mishaps in first week

Passengers wait for their flights on the first day of operation of the new terminal of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. Pic: AP

INDONESIA’S newest airport terminal has already seen a fair share of setbacks and complaints in its first week of operations, the latest being an unexpected flood in the arrivals area on Sunday.

Footage of water gushing out from the floor of the passenger pick-up and drop-off area near the entrance of Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport Terminal 3 has been making its rounds on social media.

In the video, airport employees can be seen trying to sweep the water out from the terminal interior, albeit somewhat unsuccessfully.

According to airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II, the flood was due to heavy rainfall, but airport staff were able to bring it under control within an hour.

A spokesman for the operator, public relations manager Haerul Anwar, told national newspaper Kompas: “We are still investigating how it happened. Right now we think it’s because the flow of water [in underground pipes] is too large [because of the rain].”

The airport’s senior general manager, M. Suriawan Wakan, added that there was the possibility that an accumulation of construction debris in the drainage pipes had been the cause.

Besides that, the terminal suffered a power outage last week, which delayed up to 38 flights, and has received complaints regarding cleanliness and lack of clear signage.

The US$560 million terminal opened on Tuesday, where national airline Garuda began operating domestic flights. International flights are expected to begin flying out from the new terminal from next month.

For years, the Soekarno-Hatta Airport has struggled to support passenger traffic, and appears outdated compared to the modern, large-scale airports of neighboring countries such as Singapore’s Changi Airport or Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA.

According to Airports Council International, the airport handled about 54 million passengers last year, making it the 18th busiest in the world.

However, PT Angkasa Pura II plans to refurbish the two older terminals once all airlines have been moved to the new terminal, and is currently building a third runway, in hopes of bolstering the airport’s image to compete with other airports in the region.

The airport is said to be able to handle 62 million passengers a year once the renovated terminals are fully operational again in early 2018.

This story first appeared on Asian Correspondent. Additional reporting by Associated Press