The problem of prices of staple goods, especially in disadvantaged, remote, outermost and border areas is a problem that has recently emerged in Indonesia.
To overcome this, the government through the Ministry of Transportation then initiated the Air Bridge program.
Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi also initiated the Air Bridge program for the outermost areas in Timika, the capital of Mimika Regency, Papua; Dekai (Capital of Yahukimo District, Papua); Wamena (Capital of Jayawijaya Regency, Papua); Masamba (North Luwu Regency, South Sulawesi) and Tarakan (Tarakan City, North Kalimantan).
This year will also expand the coverage area, namely the Tanah Merah Regional Office. The Papua region was chosen to run the program because in the region the prices of basic commodities were quite high because they were influenced by the high transportation costs for distribution activities.
The program is also a manifestation of the Joko Widodo government Nawacita program. Especially the 3rd Nawacita, namely to build Indonesia from the periphery by strengthening regions and villages within the framework of a unitary state.
The program is also the 7th realization of Nawacita, which is to realize economic independence by moving strategic sectors of the domestic economy.
The existence of an air bridge is expected to drive the economy in the region. So, not only bring goods to remote areas but also transport the goods produced by the region to other regions throughout Indonesia.
The air bridge program consists of pioneer cargo air transport that serves flights from the district to the district area or coverage using aircraft that are adjusted to the maximum capacity that can be operated at both the origin and destination airports and special air freight transportation subsidies that serve flights from the district capital to the district capital others using large-bodied aircraft classmates of the Boeing 737 freighter.
Director General of Civil Aviation Polana B Pramesti said the Air Bridge program initiated by the Directorate General of Air Transportation had succeeded in reducing price disparity in the area served. This program has had a significant impact on the decline in the average price of 5 basic commodities by 57.21 percent.
Due to the success of the program Polana focused on improving air transportation safety and security, as well as increasing capacity in several locations.
In terms of increasing capacity, this year there will be an extension of airport runway in 9 locations including at Dewadaru Airport in Karimunjawa, Jepara, Central Java; Sintang (Sintang, West Kalimantan), Bua (Bua Airport in Luwu District, South Sulawesi), Masamba Masamba (North Luwu Regency, South Sulawesi), Sultan Muhammad Kaharuddin Airport (Sumbawa Besar, NTB); Tanah Merah (Boven Digoel Regency, Papua), Kepi (Mappi Regency, Papua Province), Nunukan (North Kalimantan) and Wamena (Papua).
And the construction and development of airport terminals in 29 locations including Dewadaru (Central Java), Pekonserai (Lampung), Nangapinoh (Melawi Regency, West Kalimantan), Iskandar (Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan), Sampit (Kalteng), Teweh (Kalteng), Rampi (North Luwu, South Sulawesi), Kendari (Southeast Sulawesi), Kolaka (Kolaka Regency, Southeast Sulawesi), Muna (West Muna, Southeast Sulawesi), Wahai (Central Maluku, Maluku), Larantuka (NTT), Serui (Papua), Sarmi (Papua), Okaba (Papua), Numfor (Papua), Bade (Papua), Ranai (Natuna Regency, Riau Islands Province), Seibati (Karimun Regency, Riau Islands), Kebar (Tambrauw Regency, West Papua).
New terminals are in Timika (Papua), Mamuju (West Sulawesi), Alor (NTT), Sumenep (East Java), Dobo (Aru Islands, Maluku), Illu (Papua), Galela (North Halmahera Regency, North Maluku), Tambelan (Bintan, Riau Islands) and Siau (Siau Tagulandang Biaro Islands Regency, North Sulawesi).
The presence of the program was also welcomed by residents. One of them was the Head of the Korupun District Tribe in Yahukimo, Papua, Yosua Busup. Joshua judged that with the air bridge all prices dropped.
“Residents are very happy that the prices of goods all go down. Many people are happy,” he said.
Goods transported are basic necessities, namely, rice, instant noodles and cooking oil. The staple food is considered needed by residents. “We are also happy to be able to buy rice at a price much cheaper than before,” Yosua said.
The economy has increased and the living standards of people in these disadvantaged and remote areas have also risen.
Data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation at the Ministry of Transportation noted that since the air bridge program was conceived for the first time in 2017, the graph of the growth of cargo transportation continues to increase.
In 2017 there were 1,115,000 tons of cargo transported which rose to 1,120,000 tons in 2018 and targeted by 2019 to transport 2,290,000 tons of cargo.
If calculated from 2014-2018, the average growth of cargo transportation is around 6.5 percent. While for the number of passengers also increased since 2014-2018. The average growth in the number of passengers from 2014-2018 was 9.2 percent. For 2019, it will transport 262,000,000 passengers.
In addition to the Air Bridge program, these increases are also due to the many new airports that are opened and operating.
During 2018 alone the Directorate General of Air Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation has operated three new airports.
The three airports are Kertajati in Majalengka, Samarinda Baru or Pranoto APT in East Kalimantan and finally Tebelian Airport in West Kalimantan.
Polana B Pramesti said, for the past 4 years the 2015-2018 period had already completed 10 airports. The details are in 2015 there are two new airports, then two new airports in 2016.
Furthermore, in 2017 there are three new airports that have been operated by the Ministry of Transportation. And this year there are also three new airports that have been built.
The 10 airports include Letung Airport, Anambas, then the second is Namniwel Airport. Then the third is Miangas Airport, the fourth is Morowali Airport and the fifth is Werur Airport.
Furthermore, the sixth airport that operates is Maratua Airport, the seventh Koroway Batu Airport. Then followed by Kertajati Airport in the eighth position Kertajati, Kesembilan Samarinda Baru, and the last was Tebelian.
“There are a number of airports that have operated, from Letung-Anambas, there are Namniwel in North Maluku, serving Ambon routes,” Polana said.
Polana explained, in addition to the construction of a new airport, the Ministry of Transportation also revitalized the airports that were already operating. The details are 24 airports revitalized for airports at the border.
Then 59 airports are prone to disasters. Then 48 airports in isolated areas were also revitalized and 39 airports were also runway rehabilitation.
“2018 has also revitalized the airport as well. There are 24 airports at the border, 59 airports prone to disasters, 48 airports in isolated areas, and 39 airports for runway rehabilitation,” he explained.
Meanwhile for 2019-2020 there will be four new airports to be operated. The four airports are Siau-North Sulawesi, Tambelan-Bintan, Muara Teweh-Central Kalimantan, and Buntu Kunik-South Sulawesi.
Polana said, for the development of airports, areas of concern include Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Industrial Estates, and tourism areas. The construction of the airport is carried out in 6 SEZs and 7 industrial zones so that it can boost activity there. Meanwhile, in the tourism sector, the government is still targeting 20 million tourists this year. (wly)