Soewondo Air Force Base

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Polonia International Airport)
Jump to: navigation, search
Polonia International Airport
Bandar Udara Internasional Polonia
Polonia intl departure.jpg
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 98°40′18″E / 3.55806°N 98.67167°E / 3.55806; 98.67167Coordinates: 03°33′29″N 98°40′18″E / 3.55806°N 98.67167°E / 3.55806; 98.67167
MES is located in Sumatra Topography
Location of airport in Sumatra
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]

Soewondo Air Force Base is the former Polonia International Airport (Indonesian: Bandar Udara Internasional Polonia) (IATA: MESICAO: WIMK) which was the principal airport serving Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, about 2 km from the downtown, and used to serve 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.

At the end of its service as civil airport, Polonia was the fourth largest airport in Indonesia after Soekarno–Hatta, Juanda, and Ngurah Rai, in terms of passenger numbers.[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 from WIMM to WIMK, since WIMM is assigned for Kuala Namu.

Now as Soewondo Air Force Base, the airport belongs to the Indonesian Air Force. It will host the Western Surveillance Wing including eight CN-235 tactical surveillance airplanes.[6]


Michalski's house in the 1870s

The airport's former 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.

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

The airport's last arrival on 24 July 2013 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 after landing at Kuala Namu 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 Polonia Airport's activity officially shifted to Kuala Namu Airport. Polonia Airport is now used as an air force base.


Polonia International Airport Map
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.

Once, there was a dilemma of whether or not to upgrade Polonia International Airport, due to the delay of the finishing of the new Kuala Namu International Airport. This dilemma made PT Angkasa Pura II pledge 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
Busiest Domestic Flights Out of Polonia International Airport by Frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (Weekly)
1 Jakarta COA.svg Jakarta 290
2 Lambang Riau Kepulauan.jpeg Batam 63
3 Coat of arms of Aceh.svg Banda Aceh 42
4 Riau COA.svg Pekanbaru 42
5 West Java coa.svg Bandung 32
6 North Sumatra coa.png Gunung Sitoli 28
7 West Sumatra coa.svg Padang 21
7 South Sumatra coa.png Palembang 21
8 Coat of arms of Aceh.svg Meulaboh 17
9 Coat of arms of East Java.svg Surabaya 14
9 North Sumatra coa.png Padang Sidempuan 14
9 Coat of arms of Aceh.svg Sinabang 14
10 North Sumatra coa.png Sibolga 7
10 North Sumatra coa.png Tarutung 7
11 Coat of arms of Aceh.svg Lhokseumawe 3
12 Coat of arms of Aceh.svg Singkil 2
Busiest International Flights Out of Polonia International Airport by Frequency
Rank Destinations Frequency (Weekly)
1 Malaysia Penang 99
2 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 74
3 Singapore Singapore 42
4 Thailand Bangkok 7
5 Malaysia Johor Bahru 3
6 Sri Lanka Colombo 2

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[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. ^
  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". 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. ^
  11. ^
  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" (PDF). 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]