Officials from the Ministry of Transportation have confirmed that teams at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar are beginning preparations to welcome the world’s largest commercial aircraft to the runway for the first time in June 2023.
The Airbus 380 is the biggest commercial plane in the world and can hold 600 passengers across two levels. Bali Airport must now prepare not only airport logistics around the arrival of the aircraft but also upgrade facilities within the terminal building to manage the increased influx of arrivals.
Speaking to the National News Agency, the Director General Of Air Transportation, Maria Kristi Endah Murni, told reporters that airport operators are planning a special operation to manage the technicalities of the supersize jet. She said, “because the capacity of this aircraft is very large and the dimensions of the aircraft consist of two floors, the [plan] requires handling time and equipment that is different from other aircraft”.
I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport teams are working on plans involving ground handling, refuel handling, and plans for emergencies and disasters in partnership with the Aviation Firefighting Accident Assistance Unit. This is all in addition to the implications on the customs and immigration side of the operation. Munri continued, “we also have to ensure the readiness of the ‘alternative aerodrome,’ which is the closest alternative airport that can accommodate in the case of interference Ngurah Rai Airport.”
Murni added that she and her teams are implementing ongoing assessments to ensure that the preparations and upgrades to operations remain on track, ready to welcome the first Emirates A380 to Bali in June 2023. She concluded, “We have to make sure all facilities are complete so that flight operations and services run safely and comfortably.”
Inside the terminal building, upgrades to the arrival experience for passengers that will be aboard the A380 are also already underway. The International Arrivals Terminal will open twelve check-in counters for self-reporting entry into Indonesia.
The General Manager of Bali Airport, Handy Heryudhitiawan, told reporters “We have prepared twelve check-in counters for self-report. Usually, there are four to six counters for other airlines. But because of this, we know that there can be up to 615 passengers, so we provide twelve counters.”
Heryudhitiawan assured reporters that the runway at Bali Airport is more than capable of receiving the A380, noting that many airports around the world where A380s regularly land and take off have runways that are the same length and width as Ngurah Rai. He explained that operational staff is receiving training to be able to facilitate the new standard operating procedures that come with the A380.
He added, “ground handling officers need training; technicians who have no experience must be certified. The information is also that they are currently conducting training; the pusher car or towing truck has now been sent to Bali.” He conducted, “We are very ready and need to continue to work with airlines, airport authorities, and the Ministry of Transportation to ensure everything is safe.”
Bali Airport is not only undergoing upgrades to welcome the A380 to the tarmac but to improve passenger experience throughout the airport. In December 2022, InJourney, the state-owned enterprise dedicated to aviation and tourism renovations in Indonesia, announced plans to enhance customer experience at Bali Airpot.
Speaking at the time, Dony Oksaria, the director of InJourney, told the media that “the airport is the first and last impression of people who come to Indonesia. How do we want guests to be perceived as being at the airport?”
He shared that InJourney will focus on shifting the airport experience for passengers from being too strictly operational to being focused more on service and enjoyment. He added, “We will transform the airport by focusing on what was originally operational-based to service”.
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