Thickening smog disrupts Palangka Raya airport’s flight schedules


Palangka Raya, C Kalimantan (ANTARA) – The thickening haze arising from land and forest fires disrupted the flight schedules of Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangka Raya, the capital city of Central Kalimantan Province, on Sunday.

The thick smoke had significantly reduced visibility to 600 meters making pilots uneasily land at the airport, Siswanto, the executive General Manager of state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II-Tjilik Riwut Airport said here on Sunday.

The airport authorities just served two Lion Air’s flights for Surabaya and Jakarta on Sunday morning, he said, adding that the poor visibility has also made Garuda Indonesia cancel its take-off from and landing at the airport.

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The thickening smog arising from the ongoing wildfires had disrupted several flight schedules, including the ones from Palangka Raya to cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Solo, he added.

On Sunday morning, the passengers of Lion Air flight JT 626 also failed to arrive at North Kalimantan Province’s Juwata International Airport due to poor visibility.

Due to thickening haze covering Tarakan city on Sunday morning, the pilot decided to divert his airplane’s landing at Sepinggan International Airport in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan.

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The Lion Air JT 626 was scheduled to arrive at Juwata International Airport at 08.40 a.m. local time, and the aircraft had actually cruised above Tarakan city, said Evi, one of the passengers on board of this Lion Air JT 626.

However, owing to the thickening smog, the pilot decided to divert the landing of his aircraft at Sepinggan International Airport, she said.

Shortly after landing at Sepinggan, all passengers were requested by the Lion Air ground officials to wait for the next notification at the airport’s waiting room.

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“Actually, I should continue my trip to Malinau to attend an occasion but I do not know when I am asked to get on board of the airplane again,” said Evi, a civil servant of the Education and Culture Ministry.

Several parts of the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan have been suffering from the impact of thick smoke arising from wildfires over the past weeks. The thickening smog has even threatened the people’s health and economic activities.

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