President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has ordered the extension of Ferdinand Lumban (FL) Tobing Airport's runway in Sibolga, Central Tapanuli district, North Sumatra province.
"When I had just descended from the plane at the airport, the Central Tapanuli district head proposed the extension of the runway. (The Sibolga) mayor also proposed the extension of the runway to enable wide-bodied planes to land," the president said while inaugurating Sibolga port in Central Tapanuli on Sunday.
The president further ordered Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi who was also present at the inauguration ceremony to extend the airport's runway.
"How many flights are there from Jakarta (to Sibolga) everyday? There are one flight (from Jakarta) and two to three flights from other regions. I hope the number could be increased to more than seven to boost the economy," he said.
The government was encouraging the growth and improvement of land, sea and air transportation services, he said.
"Mr. Transportation Minister will calculate it (the cost) so not only sea transportation but also air transportation will grow. The palm oil and mining industries here begin to grow well and that we must pay attention to facilities related to land, sea and air transportation services," he said.
He believed that after the central government had built infrastructures regional governments could prepare new economic growth centres.
"Our task is preparing infrastructures, while the tasks of provincial, municipal and district governments is preparing new economic growth centers. I believe there will be more companies engaged in mining, palm oil and fishery sectors here the more so because facilities including processing units have been built," he said.
State port operator PT Pelindo 1 has completed the construction of Sibolga port including the arrangement of multi-purpose terminal, the expansion of pier for containers and general cargoes, the expansion of ferry pier, the construction of container yard and the instalation of fix crane.
Also present at the inauguration ceremony were First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo, State Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Chief of the Presidential Staff Moeldoko, North Sumatra Governor Utara Edy Rahmayadi, Deputy Chief of the Golkar Party's Honorary Council Akbar Tanjung, Pelindo 1 President Director Bambang Eka Cahyana, Central Tapanuli District Head Bakhtiar Ahmad Sibarani, and Sibolga Mayor Syarfi Hutauruk. (ant)