Surabaya Airport Wipes The Floor

Oct 19th, 2011, in IM Posts, Travel, by

Clean ToiletSurabaya's Juanda Airport toilets remain the cleanest in Indonesia, and don't give people the $#;+s.

That is the conclusion of a specially-selected Ministry of Culture and Tourism jury, who recently gave the Sapta Pesona Clean Public Toilet Award to Juanda Airport for the second time.

In one of the stranger cases of Indonesian nepotism, the jury was chaired by Triesna Wacik, wife of Indonesia's Tourism Minister, Jero Wacik. When interviewed about this, Mr Wacik doesn't mind his wife being associated with bathrooms, even referring to her as "Miss Toilet".

The Clean Toilet Jury
"It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it"
Indonesia's Clean Toilet Jury, chaired by Triesna Wacik (centre, in white)

The Cleanest Airport Toilet Award was presented in a star-studded tourism awards ceremony at Hotel Nikko on 27 September, coinciding with World Tourism Day. (The same jury also presented the inaugural Cleanest Zoo Toilet Award to Taman Safari Park, Bali; it is not confirmed whether the jury assessed the toilets for humans or animals.)

Clean Toilet Award Night
Miss Toilet and Mr Wacik present the award to Juanda Airport Management

As well as being the first multiple winner of the award, Juanda Airport's toilets also became the first to earn a 4-star rating, receiving extra points for its hands-free flushers, as well as special facilities for children and the disabled.

Jakarta's much-maligned and overloaded Soekarno-Hatta Airport retained its 3-star rating to finish second, while Denpasar/Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport finished third, earning a 3-star rating for the first time. The 3-star rating means that toilet paper and running water are available at all times, and the toilet areas are generally clean.

The fact that Ngurah Rai Airport won the inaugural award in 2007 with two-star toilets shows a general improvement in airport toilet standards and hygiene. It also suggests a reduced likelihood of patrons getting an airport terminal disease.

FirmansyahThe Director-General of Tourism Development, Firmansyah, was recently quoted as saying:

Ever since the first time we held the Sapta Pesona Clean Public Toilet Award in 2007, airports across the country have been improving their toilet facilities every year and we have made tourists feel more comfortable.

Here are the airports ranked from 1-20 with their 2009 position in brackets:

  1. Juanda Airport, Surabaya **** (1) Unchanged
  2. Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta ***(2) Unchanged
  3. Ngurah Rai Airport, Denpasar *** (4) Up1
  4. Adi Sumarmo Airport, Solo (5) Up1
  5. Adi Sutjipto Airport, Yogyakarta (6) Up1
  6. Minangkabau Airport, Padang (7) Up1
  7. Sam Ratulani Airport, Manado (11) Up4
  8. Sepinggan Airport, Balikpapan (17) Up9
  9. Mahmud Badaruddin II, Palembang (8) Down1
  10. Sultan Hasanuddin Airport, Makassar (9) Down1
  11. Husein Sastranegara Airport, Bandung (3) Down8
  12. Selaparang Airport, Lombok (10) Down2 - now closed
  13. Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, Jakarta (-)
  14. Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport, Banda Aceh (-)
  15. Achmad Yani Airport, Semarang (14) Down1
  16. Hang Nadim Airport, Batam (13) Down3
  17. Polonia Airport, Medan (16) Down1
  18. Supadio Airport, Pontianak (10) Down8
  19. Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport, Pekanbaru (12) Down7
  20. El Tari Airport, Kupang (15) Down5

On a recent visit to Surabaya's Juanda Airport, the author's foreign friends did indeed notice the superior quality of the toilets compared to others they had recently experienced in Denpasar, Makassar and Yogyakarta. Their only suggestion was to replace toilet paper with larger/stronger paper toweling for hand drying.


However, other statistics suggest that more generally Indonesia still has some work to do.

It recently placed 12th out of 18 Asian countries for its toilet facilities in a survey by the World Toilet Organisation. Indonesia was ranked above Vietnam, but below neighbours Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand.

Don't Use Toilets
Old habits die hard

Indonesia also leads the world in another less pleasant fact: Indonesia ranks third for public/open defecation, behind China and India. According to another report, as much as 30% of the population still doesn't use toilet facilities (whether by choice or necessity), using drains, rivers, etc, instead. It is said to cost the Indonesian economy Rp56 trillion - over $US6 billion - per year in lost productivity due to preventable illnesses in workers. Open defecation is apparently a "common sight" even in the province of East Java, location of the airport with the cleanest airport toilets: Surabaya.


5 Comments on “Surabaya Airport Wipes The Floor”

  1. avatar Oigal says:

    Well I would have to say that Surabaya does boast probably the best airport in Indonesia. Jakarta is not bad except for the inexplicable habit of Garuda planes stopping in the middle of nowhere and then requiring a ten minute bus ride to an air tunnel. In fact, if S-Hatta Airport could clear the taxi and transport touts and layabouts it would be a nice airport.

    Curious story, a couple of months ago came in on an International Flight, hopped off and saw a nice car (the ones they normally shuffle the BC people on). Got lift back to the terminal and one of the other characters slipped the driver a crisp $100 bill (Wow that’s weird and a big tip think I). Was not until I was in the terminal…oh bugger I am in domestic terminal..wtf??!!…ah so that was the $100 bucks.. to skip immigration.

    Of course, my fun had just begun. I am on the wrong side of immigration and customs with my bags still on the other side..

  2. avatar Hans Westerveld says:

    It’s a good initiative that the quality of the facilities at airports annually are inspected at ministerial level. I wonder how it is organized. It seems to me that unannounced inspections are necessary and that these results count in the final result. If it is only an announced inspection of the Ministry it is the same as an announced visit by a mother in law on Sunday. The day before everything is cleared and cleaned.

  3. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Hans,

    I think there are random/unannounced inspections, because some airports’ rankings have risen and/or fallen significantly from last time. For example, Balikpapan rose from 17 to 9, while Bandung fell from 3 to 11.

  4. avatar Oigal says:

    I dunno how Balikpapan managed that…shockers!

  5. avatar Chris says:

    Further information about Juanda Airport’s award-winning toilets in this article:

    Teguh Pratomo, the head of the service and operation division at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, said the biggest challenge for the airport’s management in toilet maintenance was dealing with people’s lack of knowledge as to how to use public facilities properly.

    “The rise of low cost airlines has brought people from lower economic classes who are not familiar with using a public toilet at the airport,” Teguh said, adding that those people made toilet maintenance more challenging.

    Yet, Juanda Airport overcame the challenges it faced as it has won the award for the airport with the best toilet facilities two years in a row from the Tourism Ministry.

    I don’t know if this is blaming the victim, or what exactly people would do that is improper use of toilets (apart from people perhaps leaving foot/shoeprints from squatting on toilet seats). Any ideas?

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