From the Sydney Morning Herald:
At Banda Aceh airport yesterday a German air officer was trying to find out who could arrange slots for aeroplanes carrying a field hospital, while Australian and US air force personnel began building a temporary plywood air traffic control tower that has no radar.
Banda Aceh’s air traffic control chief conceded the ongoing problems but said many were beyond his control because the airport was not set up for the 160 helicopter and plane movements a day. “It’s difficult getting planes out of Medan because the apron is full and the same thing happens here,” he said.
But help is coming because our boys and girls are on the job:
The MATC Tower, jointly owned by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), was sent to Banda Aceh today via a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) C-130 transport aircraft. The control tower at Banda Aceh airport had sustained damages after the earthquake and tsunami on 26 Dec 04, reducing the number of aircraft the airport can handle for humanitarian relief flights. The MATC Tower will help increase the handling capacity for flights.
There’s still a lot to do, and there’s still a lot to coordinate on the ground. Because already the UN is copping some flak:
At the same time, US officials were briefing journalists about the lack of a UN presence at the airport in Banda Aceh.
“Look around and see who’s present, and you will also see who’s missing,” said one. “I think you can read between the lines. They [the UN] have their compound in town, their cars, but are they getting food out? Are they setting up clinics?”