The development of the Bintan International Airport, scheduled for completion in 2017, is aimed at supporting the region's tourist industry, especially the needs of charter flights, said Bintan Regent Ansar Ahmad.
"The permit for the new airport has been secured. The project is currently underway and will add various facilities to the region," said Ansar.
According to Ansar, the project developer was Singapore-based Gallant Venture Ltd., a company that already manages the Lagoi International Tourist Region on the island, and the project is planned to serve charter flights for tourists vacationing in Lagoi.
"So far, tourists' chartered planes park in Singapore, then they finish their journey to Bintan by ferry. They will just land on Bintan when the airport commences operations," said Ansar.
He added he was confident that the presence of the new special international airport would boost tourist arrivals to Lagoi resorts two fold from the 320,000 tourists currently visiting the area annually.
"The airport is projected to open by 2017. Gallant Venture is serious about making this project happen as it has been publicized everywhere," Ansar told The Jakarta Post recently.
According to Ansar, the airport will also serve as a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) workshop, managed by Garuda Maintenance Facility.
"The airport management has signed a memorandum of understanding with Garuda Indonesia to build the MRO there," said Ansar.
In mid-2012, PT Bintan Resort Cakrawala, developer of the Lagoi tourism region, commenced building the airport in Busung, Bintan Island, Riau Islands, at a cost of US$100 million.
The airport, the first and biggest special airport built in Indonesia, was earlier planned to operate by 2015, but due to a number of obstacles, it was delayed.
PT Bintan Resort Cakrawala general manager Abdul Wahab said in the initial stage, a 3,000-meter long runway, would be built on the airport's 1,000-hectare site.
"Currently, contruction progress is at around 15 per cent completion and we plan to complete the project by 2017," said Wahab.
The Lagoi tourism region is currently home to 13 premium-class hotels, offering daily rates ranging from $120 to $3,000. The resort is dominated by tourists from Singapore, Malaysia, China and Europe.