• Breaking News

    Friday, February 7, 2014

    Lapan Ready to Develop Pioneer Aircraft

    Tobapos -- The National Aeronautics and Aviation Agency (LAPAN) plans this year to develop pioneer N219 aircraft, thereby spearheading the development of the national aviation industry, noted a minister.

    "The N219 aircraft will come into play as there are several areas in the country that are not yet accessible," Research and Technology Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta remarked after inaugurating Thomas Djamaluddin as Head of LAPAN, here on Friday.

    Thomas Djamaluddin was earlier deputy head for science, research, and aeronautics information of LAPAN. He was appointed as LAPAN chief to succeed Bambang S. Tejasukmana.

    In the meantime, Bambang S. Tejasukmana claimed that the N219 aircraft development was a very important government program as it constituted a second attempt by the government to build an Indonesian-made transport aircraft.

    "Three institutions are involved in the program. Besides LAPAN, the program also included Indonesia's aircraft manufacturer, PT Diregantara Indonesia (PT DI), as the agency in-charge of executing the program and the Transportation Ministry, which is assigned the task of validating the feasibility of the aircraft so that it can be certified," Bambang explained.

    He noted that the program commences in 2014, with the purchase of plane components. In 2015, it will begin the construction and trial process while in 2016, the aircraft is expected to obtain certification, he further added.

    According to Bambang, the plane has several advantages and can carry 19 passengers. It is designed to operate on short landing strips across various regions in Indonesia.

    LAPAN has set a budget of Rp90 billion for the development of the aircraft.

    "We are now in the process of finalizing a contract with PT DI. We are hopeful that by next month, the contract will already be in our hands," Bamgang emphasized.

    In the meantime, Cargo airline, PT Deraya Air, which is based at the Sentani airport of Jayapura, Papua, plans to procure two new cargo aircraft.

    PT Deraya Air spokesman Rahman Maulana reported that the two new aircraft will be used for carrying cargo between Sentani and Wamena in the province.

    The two aircraft are expected to commence operations by early next month, Rahman stated last month.

    He further added that the two BAe ATP (Advence Torbo Propeller) aircraft are similar to the planes that it currently operates and each has a carrying capacity of 6.7 tons of cargo per flight.

    The new aircraft will serve the routes left open by the airline after one of its aircraft was badly damaged when it slipped off the Wamena airport's runway on May 2013, he explained.

    "PT Deraya Air is capable of serving four flights per day. Therefore, we can transport 28 tons of cargo per day," he remarked.

    Operations, however, also depend on the prevailing weather conditions, he noted. (ant/adm)

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