JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The Indonesian capital's airport opened a new terminal Tuesday after years of operating at far above its passenger capacity.
Domestic flights for national carrier Garuda began operating in the morning from Soekarno-Hatta airport's steel and glass $560 million Terminal 3. Its international flights will shift to the new terminal next month.
Other airlines will gradually move their flights to the terminal and the airport company plans to start refurbishing two old terminals, built in 1984 and 1992, later this year.
Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, is one of world's fastest growing air travel markets.
But many international airlines bypass the capital Jakarta in favor of modern, high-capacity airports at Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur for their Southeast Asian stopovers.
The airport operator and government hopes the new terminal, and a third runway that is under development, will change that.
Budi Karya Sumadi, Indonesia's transport minister and former president of the airport company, said "this terminal was built to change the image of the capital Jakarta."
Soekarno-Hatta airport will be able to handle 62 million passengers a year once the renovated terminals are fully operational again in early 2018. The airport handled about 54 million passengers last year, making it the 18th busiest in the world, according to Airports Council International.
An electric train from the airport to the city is slated for completion in early 2017.