Soewondo Air Force Base

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Polonia International Airport
Bandar Udara Internasional Polonia
Polonia intl departure.jpg
IATA: MESICAO: WIMK
MES is located in Sumatra Topography
MES
MES
Location of airport in Sumatra
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Government of Indonesia
Operator PT Angkasa Pura II
Serves Medan
Location Medan, Indonesia
Opened 1928
Closed Thursday, 25 July 2013 at 00:30 WIB.
Elevation AMSL 114 ft / 35 m
Coordinates 03°33′29″N 098°40′18″E / 3.55806°N 98.67167°E / 3.55806; 98.67167
Website www.poloniaairport.com
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
3,000 9,850 Asphalt
Statistics (2012)
Passenggers 7,890,796
Aircraft Movement 65,966
Cargo 38,813,435
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Polonia International Airport (Indonesian: Bandar Udara Internasional Polonia) (IATA: MESICAO: WIMK) was the principal airport serving Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, about 2 km from the downtown. It served flights to several Indonesian and Malaysian cities, along with a flight to Singapore and Thailand. Previous international flights had been opened to Hong Kong, Taipei, Amsterdam, Phuket, Chennai, Johor Bahru, Malacca and Ipoh. In terms of passenger numbers, Polonia was the fourth largest airport in Indonesia after Soekarno-Hatta, Juanda, and Ngurah Rai.[3] Passenger service charges for each departed through domestic terminal was IDR 35,000 ($4.1) and IDR 75,000 ($8.8) for international terminal.[4]

All flights and services from this airport shifted to Kuala Namu International Airport on 25 July 2013.[5] Following the airport's opening, Polonia's ICAO code is changed to WIMK, while WIMM is assigned for Kuala Namu.

Polonia International Airport now belongs to the Indonesian Air Force and will be transformed into a military base. It will be designated as Soewondo Air Force Base and will host the Western Surveillance Wing including eight CN-235 tactical surveillance airplanes.[6]

History[edit]

Michalski's house in the 1870s

The airport's name is taken from the plantation area owned by a Pole, Baron Michalski in which it is situated. Polonia originates from the Latin name of the country of Poland. In 1872, the Baron obtained a concession from the Dutch east indies administration for a tobacco plantation in Medan. He named the plantation after the country of his birth, which at that time was not an independent state.

In 1879 the concession was handed over to Deli Maatschappij (Deli MIJ) or NV Deli Maskapai. In 1924, Dutch KLM test pilot N. J. Thomassen à Thuessink van der Hoop planned to fly on a Fokker F.VII in a pioneering flight from the Netherlands.[7] Therefore, Deli MIJ who controlled that piece of land handed it over for the land to become the first airstrip in Medan.

First landing on a horse-racing track in Medan
Fokker F.VII take-off from MES in 1940

By the time the news had arrived, it was too late to prepare a proper landing strip at Polonia. As a result, van der Hoop, together with Lieutenant H van Weerden Poelman of the Army Aviation Department and KLM flight engineer P. A. van den Broeke landed on a horse-racing track called Deli Renvereeniging and were greeted by the Sultan of Deli, Sulaiman Syaiful Alamsyah.

After this first landing, the Assistant Resident of Eastern Sumatra C.S. Van Kempen urged the Netherlands East Indies administration in Batavia to allocate the necessary funding to finish the airport at Polonia. In 1928 the airport was officially opened which was marked with the landing of six aircraft owned by KNILM, a subsidiary of KLM on a temporary hardened dirt runway. From 1930, KLM and KNILM started expanding its network to Medan. It was only in 1936 that the airport's 600-metre permanent runway was finished.

In 1975, according to a joint decree issued by the Department of Defence and Security, Department of Transportation, and Department of Finance, the airport was jointly managed between the Indonesian Air Force and the Civil Aviation. From 1985, according to the Government Regulation No. 30-year 1975, the management became the responsibility of Perum Angkasa Pura which subsequently became PT. Angkasa Pura II (Persero) after 1 January 1994.

The airport is now closed to commercial aviation and replaced by Kuala Namu International Airport.

The airport's last arrival was AirAsia from Bandung at 23:50 WIB. The airport was closed right after the last landing. The last activities in the airport were the ferry flights after official closing ceremony at 00:00 WIB and the cease of transportation at 00:30 WIB. The first ferry flight, a Garuda Indonesia aircraft, received a water salute before taking off from Polonia Airport and landing at Kuala Namu International Airport. It carried the Minister of State-owned Enterprise Dahlan Iskan along with the Deputy Minister of Transportation and other officials.

After the ferry flights were completed, all of the airport activity officially shifted to Kuala Namu International Airport. The airport is now used as an air force base.

Facilities[edit]

Polonia International Airport Map
Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-200 taking off from Polonia Airport
Indonesia AirAsia Boeing 737-300 on stand at Polonia Airport

The airport is located on 144 hectares land area. There is a single asphalt runway (05/23) which is 3000 m long and 45 m wide, but has only 2,900 m of usable length. There is no run-off space beyond the runway thresholds, and the airfield is surrounded by residential areas.[8] It is often said that its location in a residential district, the wealthy Polonia area, is due to a superstition that the loud noises from aircraft drive away malevolent spirits.

Until recently, the airport consisted of an international and domestic terminal. A fire in the international arrivals area in 2006 caused damage to the airport, reducing the baggage reclaim area to a small section inside the terminal. On 2 December 2007, the domestic terminal was damaged by another fire.[9] There were no injuries, and the separate international terminal was not affected.

The airport suffered from overcrowding, serving 7,5 million passengers annually in facilities designed to handle only 900,000 passengers. The other problems were no orderly parking space for taxis, too many porters and garbage control.[10] These problems should be resolved by the construction of Kuala Namu International Airport. Construction commenced 29 June 2006. It became Indonesia's 2nd-largest airport after Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and commenced operations on 25 July 2013.

Facing the dilemma of whether or not to upgrade Polonia International Airport amid delays in finishing the new Kuala Namu International Airport, PT Angkasa Pura II pledged to fix access roads between Mustang Street and Imam Bonjol Street.[11]

Traffics and statistics[edit]

Overall Operational Statistics[12][13][14][15]
Year Passengers movements Aircraft movements Freight movements
2000
1,158,382
20,632
18,881
2001
1,510,489
23,300
21,809
2002
2,090,518
29,894
23,969
2003
2,736,332
36,359
24,067
2004
3,693,290
43,865
29,320
2005
4,033,073
55,218
32,125
2006
4,597,268
50,512
32,780
2007
5,456,558
54,238
50,580
2008
4,816,852
52,737
48,843
2009
4,913,735
50,303
49,272
2010
6,238,977
58,438
35,709
2011
7,170,107
61,755
47,254
2012
7,890,796
67,966
58,813

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 11 July 1979, a Fokker F28 of Garuda Indonesia Airways crashed into Mount Sibayak while on approach to Medan-Polonia airport. All 61 passengers and crew on board were killed.[16]
  • On 4 April 1987, Garuda Indonesia Flight 035, crashed into power lines and a television aerial in bad weather as it attempted landing at Medan-Polonia. 22 of the 45 passengers and crew on board were killed.
  • On 18 June 1988, Vickers Viscount PK-MVG of Merpati Nusantara Airlines was damaged beyond economic repair when it suffered a hydraulic system failure and departed the runway.[17]
  • On 26 September 1997, Garuda Indonesia Flight 152, an Airbus A300, crashed into woodlands 18 miles short of Medan-Polonia airport. All 234 passengers and crew on board were killed. Flight 152 is the worst aviation disaster in Indonesia history.
  • On 5 September 2005, Mandala Airlines Flight 091, crashed shortly after takeoff from Polonia. Of the 120 passengers and crew on board, 104 were killed. Another 39 people on the ground died as a result of the crash.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Airport information for WIMM at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ Airport information for MES at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
  3. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, "Perkembangan Pariwisata dan Transportasi Nasional Bulan Juli 2006" No. 45/IX/1 September 2006
  4. ^ http://waspada.co.id/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=196989:polonia-finishes-access-road-improvement&catid=30:english-news&Itemid=101
  5. ^ "Kuala Namu International Airport to operate July 25". 17 July 2013. 
  6. ^ The Jakarta Post, 24 July, 2013
  7. ^ Paul van Weezepoel, "Dutch Aviation History". Retrieved on 2008-07-06
  8. ^ M Radzi Desa (12 November 2003). "Photo of final approach to runway 05 Medan". Airliners.net. p. 1. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  9. ^ Reuters. "Fire destroys terminal at Indonesian airport". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  10. ^ http://waspada.co.id/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=192645:analyst-polonia-must-tackle-management-issue&catid=30:english-news&Itemid=101
  11. ^ http://waspada.co.id/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=195526:ap-ii-promises-to-fix-polonia-access-roads&catid=30:english-news&Itemid=101
  12. ^ "Polonia International Airport". Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  13. ^ "Polonia International Airport". Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  14. ^ "Polonia International Airport". Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  15. ^ "2009 Statistics". Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  16. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 8 October 2009. 

External links[edit]