Polonia International Airport (Indonesian: Bandar Udara Internasional Polonia) (IATA: MES, ICAO: WIMM) (Popularly Polonia Airport, as in Indonesia,Bandara Polonia) is located in the city of Medan, Indonesia, about 5 km from the Central Business District. It is the first international airport in Medan, the other being the planned Kuala Namu International Airport. It serves flights to several Indonesian and Malaysian cities, along with a flight to Singapore andThailand. Flights to Indian cities are also planned. In terms of passenger numbers, Polonia is the fourth largest airport in Indonesia after Soekarno-Hatta,Juanda, and Ngurah Rai. Service charge (Airport Tax) is Rp.35,000 ($4.1) for each passenger who depart through domestic flight, while Rp.75,000 ($8.8) for international flight.
The airport's name is taken from the plantation area owned by a Pole, Baron Michalski in which it is situated. Polonia originates from the Latin name of the country of Poland. In 1872, the Baron obtained a concession from the Dutch East Indies administration for a tobacco plantation in Medan. He named the plantation after the country of his birth, which at that time was not an independent state.History
In 1879 the concession was handed over to Deli Maatschappij (Deli MIJ) or NV Deli Maskapai. In 1924, Dutch KLM test pilot N. J. Thomassen à Thuessink van der Hoop planned to fly on a Fokker F.VII in a pioneering flight from the Netherlands. Therefore, Deli MIJ who controlled that piece of land handed it over for the land to become the first airstrip in Medan.
By the time the news had arrived, it was too late to prepare a proper landing strip at Polonia. As a result, van der Hoop, together with Lieutenant H van Weerden Poelman of the Army Aviation Department and KLM flight engineer P. A. van den Broeke landed on a horse-racing track called Deli Renvereeniging and were greeted by the Sultan of Deli, Sulaiman Syaiful Alamsyah.
After this first landing, the Assistant Resident of Eastern Sumatra C.S. Van Kempen urged the Netherlands East Indies administration in Batavia to allocate the necessary funding to finish the airport at Polonia. In 1928 the airport was officially opened which was marked with the landing of six aircraft owned byKNILM, a subsidiary of KLM on a temporary hardened dirt runway. From 1930, KLM and KNILM started expanding its network to Medan. It was only in 1936 that the airport's 600 metre permanent runway was finished.
In 1975, according to a joint decree issued by the Department of Defence and Security, Department of Transportation, and Department of Finance, the airport was jointly managed between the Indonesian Air Force and the Civil Aviation. From 1985, according to the Government Regulation No. 30 year 1975, the management became the responsibility of Perum Angkasa Pura which subsequently became PT. Angkasa Pura II (Persero) after 1 January 1994.
Runway and Facilities
There is a single asphalt runway (05/23) which is 2900 m long and 45 m wide, but has only 2,625 m of usable length. There is no run-off space beyond the runway thresholds, and the airfield is surrounded by residential areas. It is often said that its location in a residential district, the wealthy Polonia area, is due to a superstition that the loud noises from aircraft drive away malevolent spirits.
Until recently, the airport consisted of an international and domestic terminal. A fire in the international arrivals area in 2006 caused damage to the airport, reducing the baggage reclaim area to a small section inside the terminal. On 2 December 2007, the domestic terminal was damaged by another fire. There were no injuries, and the separate international terminal was not affected.
The airport suffers from overcrowding, serving 4.5 million passengers annually in facilities designed to handle only 900,000 passengers. These problems should be resolved by the construction of Kuala Namu International Airport, which will replace Polonia Airport and become Indonesia's second-largest airport when opened in mid-2011 (???). Construction began 29 June 2006. The other problems are no orderly parking space for taxi, too much porters and poor spatial for cafes and souvenir shops which contribute to uncontrollable garbage.