By RAPHAEL LIM
Singapore Airshow 2014
They will develop an airport and aviation park on the island
[SINGAPORE] Listed Gallant Venture and Indonesian flag carrier Garuda will develop an aviation and tourism hub in Bintan.
The two companies are planning a new airport and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities on the Indonesian island south-east of Singapore.
Some $300 million will be invested over last two years.
Gallant Venture and Garuda announced their plans for the project at an agreement signing ceremony on the opening day of Singapore Airshow yesterday.
Emirsyah Satar, president and CEO of PT Garuda Indonesia, said: "The new operation out of Bintan will help strengthen Garuda's network development, with a potential to connect East Indonesia and West Indonesia and become the meeting point for our international flights to Europe and the far East"
The initial investment involves a 500 hectare facility, half for an airport and the other half for an aviation park. It is expected to be ready in early 2016.
A further 800 hectares is also available on the island for future expansion if needed, said Eugene Park. CEO of Gallant Venture.
The first phase of the airport includes a dedicated passenger terminal to allow hub operations for Garuda and its partners. The airport, which is under construction, will have a three kilometer runway that can accommodate wide-body aircraft.
It will be a 20-minuter drive from Bintan Resorts, which is owned by Gallant Venture, and will be linked to Singapore and Batam by ferry.
The Singapore company will also set up a joint venture company with Garuda Maintenance Facilities AeroAsia to operate a Three-hanger MRO facility on 177 hectares of the aviation park.
Ground breaking for the MRO facility is expected in the second quarter of 2014, and the outfit will be bigger than the facilities at Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, the company side.
The Bintan Aerospace Industry Park is a free trade zone and a special economic zone, beneficial for the commercial operations of the aircraft industry in that area.
Mr. Park said: "We are confident that Bintan Airport, as the first private international airport in Indonesia, will be a facility we can all be proud of and, of course, a facility we can profit from."
Gallant's Bintan Resorts has 1,400 rooms. There are four more Hotels under construction and three more to be launched in the next few months, Mr Park said.
He said that Bintan is the second most important tourist destination after Bali for Indonesia, with over a half a million tourists a year. The companies said that with the new investment, they hope to double that figure by making it easier for tourists to get to the island.