Jakarta. State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I has announced that land acquisition for the New Yogyakarta International Airport will be completed by the end of February or at the latest in March, state news agency Antara reported.
The new airport, known by its acronym NYIA, will be built in Kulon Progo, a district in the Special Region of Yogyakarta.
NYIA was initially scheduled to open in March 2019 and will replace the tiny and overcrowded Adisutjipto International Airport in Yogyakarta.
AP I operates dozens of airports in central and eastern Indonesia and has said for a long time that Yogyakarta, a Javanese royal city and the second most popular tourist destination in Indonesia after Bali, desperately needs a bigger airport.
The current Adisutjipto Airport was only designed to accommodate 1.2 million to 1.5 million passengers per year, but in 2014 alone AP I recorded 6.2 million passengers passing through the turnstiles.
The airport is also formally part of an air force base first built in 1938. Consequently, its apron and runway regulations do not allow it to accommodate wide-body aircraft.
Agus Pandu Purnama, the airport project's spokesman, said AP I is racing against time to pinpoint the exact location of the new airport before April as required by its working papers.
"The land acquisition has to be completed by the end of February, or early March at the latest," he said last week.
Agus said AP I has left it to the court to settle land disputes with residents who refuse to give up their land for the new airport.
"But we haven't ruled out dialogues to avoid more conflicts," Agus said.
Agus claimed 85.8 percent of the 587.3 hectares of land targeted for the airport has already been freed.
Land disputes between the government and local residents reached their peak last year when many Kulon Progo residents refused to leave their land despite a court ruling ordering them to take the government's compensation package by "consignment."
This process means the compensation money will be deposited with local district courts before the landowners can get their hands on it.