Indonesia — Sultan Syarif Kasim II International Airport in Pekanbaru, Riau has officially resumed operations after being closed for more than three weeks due to dense haze blanketing Riau province.
State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura (AP) II corporate secretary Daryanto said in Jakarta on Thursday that the airport had resumed operations on Thursday morning. Sultan Syarif Kasim II has officially reopened and all flights have returned to normal, Daryanto said in a written statement.
During the temporary closure between Feb. 23 and March 17, the airport recorded 474 canceled flights, 297 delayed flights and 29 flights that were diverted to other cities. Due to the disrupted flights, the airport recorded potential losses of Rp 1.4 billion (US$122,324) from passengers service tariff (PJP2U) and aircraft landing fees.
The airlines operating at the airport are national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, low-cost carrier Citilink, budget airline AirAsia, Batik Air, Eastindo, Firefly, Lion Air, Mandala Tiger, Pelita Air, Silk Air, Sriwijaya Air and Sky Aviation.
The airlines serve routes from Pekanbaru to Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Batam (Riau Islands), Karimun (Riau Islands), Medan (North Sumatra), Rengat (Riau), Yogyakarta and Bandung (West Java).
The first carrier to take off from the airport was Lion Air with a flight bound for Jakarta on Sunday morning, as the haze had decreased significantly on Sunday after heavy rain on Saturday.
On Monday, the low-cost carrier resumed flights to Pekanbaru from Batam using a Boeing 737 aircraft. Budget airline Citilink also continued its flights to Pekanbaru from Batam on the same day using a Airbus A320.
Apart from domestic carrier Sky Aviation, which was forced to stop flying temporarily on Wednesday, all airlines have resumed operations in Pekanbaru. Sky Aviation scheduled to resume operations after March 31, or until new investors inject funds to support its operations.
The haze has not only disrupted flights to Pekanbaru but also to Minangkabau Airport in West Sumatera. The airport recorded potential losses of Rp 241.39 million on account of 112 canceled flights.
Forest and peatland fires in Riau have also blanketed neighboring countries Malaysia and Singapore.
Sixty-six suspects allegedly involved in forest and land burning as well as illegal logging have been arrested.
Since haze clouds reappeared in Riau, the police have received 44 reports of forest and land fires in nine regencies and municipalities across the province.