Air travel in Sumatra
Sumatra's lack of intraisland flights, connections to Jakarta and Southeast Asia, and how future railways could replace air travel in Sumatra.
(Minangkabau International Airport, Padang, West Sumatra)
Sumatra is the 6th largest and the 5th most populous island in the world. Both of those stats sound about right, even though there is no global correlation between island size and population (Greenland is the largest island but is barely populated).
The more mind-blowing fact is that there are over 59 million people living on the island of Sumatra. If it was a country it would be the 25th most populated, between South Africa and Italy.
Despite this massive population, there are very few flights between cities in Sumatra. I discovered this after researching a trip to the island. I'm planning to visit all of the railway systems of Sumatra, but there are only small sections on different parts of the island. There is no Trans-Sumatra Railway yet, so I would have to get the bus or fly between the main cities.
Instead of planning my rail trip, I got sidetracked into researching air travel in Sumatra. This article looks at the flights between the main cities of Sumatra, the alternatives of driving and railways, and possible reasons why there are so few intra-island flights.