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Aceh Orders Four N219 Planes

BANDA ACEH - The Aceh government will buy four new aircraft produced by PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI), namely N219. The signing of the aircraft procurement cooperation agreement was carried out by the Acting Governor of Aceh, Nova Iriansyah and PT DI's Managing Director, Elfien Goentoro, at the PT DI Management Center Building, Bandung, Monday (9/12/2019).

In addition to aircraft procurement, the cooperation agreement also agreed on cooperation in developing human resources and operating air transportation in Aceh. The plan, aircraft procurement will begin in 2021 and 2022. While the operational feasibility study and HR development will be conducted in 2020.

Acting Governor of Aceh said, the procurement of the aircraft could increase inter-regional connectivity to improve the community's economy and regional development. "Our hope is that PT Dirgantara Indonesia can meet this pioneering transportation need so that relations between regions in Aceh will be better," Nova Iriansyah said ahead of the signing procession.

He acknowledged, building pioneering flights between regions in Aceh was not easy. A number of private parties have tried, but later stopped their operations for economic reasons. As a result, pioneering flights in Aceh which are currently still running only exist in five airports. Even then, with a limited frequency, between 1 to 2 flights (flights) per week. While other airlines, more often make Kualanamu Airport in North Sumatra as its link.

"Seven other airports in the regency / city are in a state of inactivity. That condition makes the Aceh Government must intervene to overcome this problem. Especially in the development program that we planned, connectivity between regions is one of the priorities, "Nova said.

The Acting Governor of Aceh continued, the effort to connect regions in Aceh was not only carried out in the air transportation sector. In the sea transportation sector, the Government of Aceh has also established cooperation with a number of domestic shipping industries to procure Ferry ships to increase the intensity of inter-island shipping. "In the air transportation sector, we have deliberately chosen to work with PT Dirgantara Indonesia, because we know that aircraft made by children of this nation have been recognized worldwide," he added.

Nova hoped that at least until 2022 the Aceh government could get four N219 aircraft that were ideal for pioneering inter-island air transportation in Indonesia. "Furthermore, of course we expect the support and assistance of PT DI for the transfer of knowledge in order to improve the human resources of the Aceh aerospace sector," added the Acting Governor of Aceh.

Furthermore, Nova explained that the reason for the Aceh Government's need for the aircraft was because it was to connect Aceh's territories with its vast area, reaching 59,000 square kilometers for land area and 295,000 square kilometers for sea area. The length of the coastline also reaches more than 2,600 km, with a total of around 180 islands, of which 44 islands are inhabited.

"With such a vast area, relations between regions are often constrained. For example, the distance between Banda Aceh City and Singkil Regency reaches 760 Km. If using land transportation, it takes 15 hours to cover that distance," Nova said.

Likewise, the connection between Banda Aceh City to Simeulue Island, which took about 7 hours by land and continued by sea crossing by ferry for 8 hours. Likewise, the journey from the city of Banda Aceh to the Central and Southeast Aceh region is equally strenuous.

"On the other hand, Aceh is currently also developing the tourism sector and also pioneering the development of investments which of course requires smooth transportation," Nova added.

To note, the cooperation between the Government of Aceh and PT DI which was agreed yesterday was basically a revision of the previous MoU signed by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf. Previously, the two parties had signed a MoU on 7 February 2018, to coincide with the Airshow event in Singapore.

The signing of the cooperation was also the Head of the Aceh Transportation Agency, Junaidi, the Head of the Aceh Financial Management Agency, Bustami, the Head of the Aceh Regional Secretariat's Public Relations and Protocol, Muhammad Iswanto, Special Staff to Governor Thamrin Ananda, and a number of other guests.

Airplane prices

The Head of the Transportation Department, Junaidi, who was contacted separately by Serambi explained that the procurement of the N219 aircraft purchase was planned for 2021 and 2022. "The purchase was not possible in 2020 because the budget was approved, so starting in 2021 and 2022," he told Serambi.

Regarding the price of the aircraft, Junaidi, claimed not to know because now the N219 aircraft is still in prototype or prototype form. PT DI, he said, must conduct certification and several more tests before it will be mass produced. The certification process is targeted to be completed this year.

"The price really depends on the study results and the specifications of the aircraft we want. For example for an ambulance, the specifications are different from the passenger plane. But as an illustration, PT DI said the production cost of one aircraft reached around Rp 84 billion. But that is still only an estimate, "said Junaidi.

The N219 aircraft is the latest aircraft from PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI). This aircraft has a capacity of 19 passengers and is planned to begin mass production next year, after undergoing a series of certification testing.

Director of PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI), Elfien Goentoro, in his explanation to the Acting Governor of Aceh, Nova Iriansyah, said, N219 was developed to meet the needs of national air transportation in pioneering areas. This aircraft can be used for a variety of needs, such as passenger transportation, freight transportation and air ambulances.

"N219 has conducted its first test flight on August 16, 2017. The aircraft is currently undergoing a series of certification tests. The certification process is an important process to guarantee security and safety because it will be used by customers and the general public, "he explained.

Elfien stated, PTDI was committed to completing the certification process in order to obtain a Type Certificate from the Directorate of Airworthiness and Aircraft Operation (DKPPU), the Ministry of Transportation of the Republic of Indonesia. "Hopefully the N219 aircraft can immediately serve the people of Aceh and encourage and increase accessibility and economic growth in the Aceh Province," Elfien said.

The Head of the Transportation Office, Junaidi, said, the four planes ordered by the Aceh Government would later be used as passenger transport aircraft. But one of the aircraft will be designed so that at any time it can be used as an air ambulance. "If used as an air ambulance, this aircraft can load seven patient beds," he said.

N219 is a plane that is driven by two turboprop engines produced by Pratt and Whitney Aircraft of Canada Limited PT6A-42 each with 850 SHP power. This aircraft is capable of flying and landing on short runways making it easy to operate in remote areas.

The aircraft, which is made to meet FAR 23 requirements, is designed to have the largest cabin volume in its class and flexible doors that ensure that this aircraft can be used to carry passengers and cargo. N219 aircraft can be used to transport civilian passengers, military transport, freight or cargo transportation, medical evacuation, to assistance during natural disasters. With these advantages, this aircraft is also cheaper than similar aircraft, the Twin Otter.

The N219 aircraft had a maximum speed of 210 knots, and a lowest speed of 59 knots. This means that the speed is quite low but the aircraft can still be controlled. This is especially important when entering cliff and mountain areas.

After conducting flight trials several times, on November 10, 2017 the N219 aircraft was named 'Nurtanio' by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, located at the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base Base, Jakarta. The name 'Nurtanio' was chosen by the President as a tribute to Rear Admiral Air (Posthumous) Nurtanio Pringgoadisuryo who was a pioneer figure in the Indonesian aircraft industry. (Yos)

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