TRANSPORTATION Minister Budi Karya Sumadi expressed optimism about Indonesia reaping benefits after taking over the flight information region (FIR) of Riau Islands and Natuna waters from Singapore.

“The takeover and incorporation of Riau Islands and Natuna airspace into the Jakarta FIR will positively affect Indonesia, especially in economic terms,” the minister remarked during his visit to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Tangerang, Banten, on Friday (April 12).

In an official statement received here on Friday, Sumadi noted that the FIR realignment agreed by the governments of Indonesia and Singapore would allow the former to gain profits from the costs of aviation navigation services offered by the Jakarta FIR.

He said the Indonesian government would make utmost efforts to ensure safe and effective management of airspace while pursuing national interests and complying with international standards of civil aviation services.

Since the FIR realignment that took place on March 21 this year, air navigation services company AirNav Indonesia has been controlling the airspace above Riau Islands and Natuna currently under the Jakarta FIR, he added.

“I would like to congratulate AirNav for implementing the mandate. Moreover, those controlling the airspace from the operation room are women,” he praised the company.

The minister then underlined that Indonesia and Singapore had been negotiating the FIR realignment since 1995. Prior to the realignment, airplanes flying from Jakarta to Natuna and from Hong Kong to Jakarta required coordination with Singaporean authorities upon entering the airspace above Riau Islands.

“After the realignment of the FIR, airplanes on such routes are directly served by AirNav Indonesia without having to contact Singaporean authorities,” he underscored.

President Director of AirNav Indonesia Polana B. Pramesti was present during Minister Sumadi’s visit to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. [antaranews]