Here’s an interesting fact: in 2010, Jakarta’s Soeharto-Hatta airport became the busiest in Southeast Asia with a whopping 43.7 million passengers received in 2010, up 17.7% on the previous year, according to eTurboNews.

This news might surprise anyone who assumed a higher profile hub like Singapore’s Changi or Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi would take the crown. After all, both feature shiny, modern and award-winning terminals designed to handle larger numbers and both saw double-digit percentage passenger increases in 2010. Domestic passengers were by far the majority of Jakarta’s traffic, with internationals making up only 9 million (20-22%) of the total. Bangkok, on the other hand, received 33 million international passengers (77% of its total 42.78 million) and Singapore is the busiest international gateway with a total of 42.08 million passengers (as a city-state, all flights are international).

Indonesians’ increased purchasing power is the main reason for an increase in air travel, with 43.7 million domestic passengers country-wide in 2010, a 22% increase from 2009. Total international passenger numbers also grew 20% to 9.6 million in the same period. Both numbers are expected to continue increasing in 2011 and beyond.

The pressure is now on to upgrade Soeharto-Hatta’s facilities. Like other infrastructure in Indonesia it has struggled to keep up with economic growth, and could be a barrier to further growth without improvements. The airport’s official capacity of 22 million per year is only half the 2010 total, and there is still no rail link to the city center. The government has acknowledged the problem and the airport’s state-controlled operator, Angkasa Pura II, plans to expand the newer Terminal 3′s capacity from 4 to 20 million passengers by 2012/13, starting April this year. Work on a brand new Terminal 4 will also begin this year, intended to take the airport’s total capacity to 60 million per year by 2016, and rumors have begun to circulate that the rail link will finally be constructed. A recent agreement with Japan will bring in US$31 billion investment in Jakarta’s transport infrastructure.

source & article: eTurboNews