Printed headline: Do It Yourself
Indonesia’s third-largest airline operator, the Sriwijaya Group, has decided to establish its own aircraft maintenance facility at a soon-to-be-developed airport on the island of Bintan near Singapore.
Sriwijaya uses GMF AeroAsia for airframe heavy maintenance, but Richard Budihadianto, the Sriwijaya Maintenance Facility’s chairman, says the airline wants to have its own MRO shop. Budihadianto is the former CEO of GMF AeroAsia, a position he left earlier this year. While he was at AeroAsia, the company was planning to establish an MRO facility on Bintan. But later, it decided to establish its new MRO facility on Batam, an island next to Bintan.
Indonesian diversified conglomerate Salim Group is building the airport on Bintan and is saying publicly that it aims to have the single-runway airport, including a terminal building, built by end of 2019. Salim owns the Bintan Resort and other hotels on the island. It has established a company, Bintan Aviation Investments (BAI), to manage the development.
BAI Managing Director Michael Wudy says the runway will be 3,000 m (9,800 ft.) long so it can handle widebodies.
“We have reserved 800 hectares [1,975 acres] for the airport and 500 hectares for the aerospace park,” says Wudy, adding that it already has signed memorandums of understanding with Sriwijaya Group, U.S. maintenance company Regent Aerospace and Indonesian helicopter operator Whitesky Aviation. These will be the aerospace park’s anchor tenants.
Sriwijaya will also have hangars for airframe heavy maintenance checks, says Wudy.
“Whitesky Aviation will establish a helicopter base in Bintan that will include [an] MRO business, helicopter flying school and fixed-based operations [FBO],” he adds.
“We are not an airport operator and have no ambition to be an airport operator. But we are building this airport out of necessity. Ideally, the government should build the airport. But as a private company, with hotels and resorts on the island, we decided to build our own airport,” Wudy says.
“We are not developing the airport to compete against Singapore’s Changi Airport,” he adds.
Wudy says an agreement has been signed with Indonesia’s national air navigation services provider, AirNav Indonesia, to provide air navigation for the facility.
“We are happy that the Indonesian government has declared that our airport will be a fully fledged international airport,” he says.
“International visitors can access Bintan by flying to Singapore’s Changi Airport and then getting a ferry from Singapore over to Bintan. But tourists prefer a direct air connection,” he explains.