Jakarta – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated the Toraja Airport in Tana Toraja District, South Sulawesi Province, on Thursday.
“Nearly every six months, I always sought information from the minister of transportation as to when (the construction of) the airport in Tana Toraja would be completed? How come it took so long to complete? Finally, today, we can inaugurate and operate it. We should be grateful, Alhamdulillah,” President Jokowi stated at Toraja Airport.
The president embarked on a work visit to South Sulawesi to inaugurate several types of infrastructure and observe mass vaccinations against COVID-19.
The head of state was accompanied by Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno, and Acting Governor of South Sulawesi Andi Sudirman Sulaiman, among others.
“I have sought information from the minister on the costs to build this airport? It is Rp800 billion since we had to raze down three hills and clear six million cubic meters of land. This airport is very unique (since we had to) raze down three hills to build the runway,” he remarked.
“We know that it usually takes nine hours for the people here (from Tana Toraja) to reach Makassar by land. Earlier, the governor had told me it takes nine hours. Just now, I travelled aboard an ATR aircraft, and it took 50 minutes,” Jokowi stated.
With the existence of the Tana Toraja Airport, people from Makassar, Bali, Jakarta, and Bandung can head directly to Tana Toraja.
The president is optimistic that the Toraja Airport would drive the region’s economic growth, create more jobs, and trigger new centers of economic growth.
Aircraft, such as the ATR 72-500 / 600, can land at the Toraja Airport’s runway that measures two thousand meters long and 30 meters wide.
Furthermore, Toraja Airport has a passenger terminal, with an area of 1,152 square meters, and can serve 45 thousand passengers annually.
Toraja Airport has been operational since September 4, 2020, and two airlines — Wings Air and Citilink — operate on regular routes from Makassar to Toraja and vice versa.
In addition to inaugurating the Toraja Airport, President Jokowi inaugurated the Pantar Airport in Alor District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
Source: Antara News