Linguistic Landscape of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Terminal 3 (Indonesia), by Ubaldus Djonda

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Bandar Udara Internasional Soekarno-Hatta, in Indonesia) is a main airport serving flights from and to Jakarta, Indonesia. It is located in Tangerang, the western border of Jakarta, part of Banten Province. The airport’s name is dedicated to the two founding fathers of Indonesia, Soekarno, and Mohammad Hatta.

In 2016, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (SHIA) expanded its terminal and operated Terminal 3 to facilitate international and domestic flights. The international flights are delivered by international carriers such as Air Asia, Batik Air, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch, Korean Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Oman Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, and Vietnam Airlines. The domestic flights are carried out by Citilink and Garuda Indonesia. The identified airlines may indicate that people from different countries pass through that terminal, including Indonesians, Chinese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Filipinos, Thais, Arabs, Australians, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Omanis, Turks, and Dutch.

In fact, as an international airport, SHIA Terminal 3 becomes a gateway for Indonesians travelling abroad or foreign visitors coming to Indonesia. With a size of 422.804 square meters, the terminal can accommodate 25 million passengers every year. It was designed as an eco-friendly and modern terminal. Consequently, the airport has various signage “to guide passengers with different background, languages, and nationalities to find their ways inside the terminal building” (Pinasthika & Rizaldi, 2018, p. 304).  The signage inside the terminal serves various functions, including wayfinding, passenger services, safety precautions, and branding.

Figure 1. Multilingual sign at the arrival area of international flights.

When the international travellers arrive at SHIA Terminal 3, the directional sign in Figure 1 assists them in following the proper procedures and guides them to find the services they need. It is a multilingual sign displaying Indonesian, English, Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. The cursors point to the directions to the Immigration, Port Health, Baggage Claim, and Transfer. The sign also contains the phrase, Area Pemindai Suhu/ Thermal Scanner Area.

Before passengers of the international flights leave the airport, they need to pass through the checkpoint of the Airport Customs. The sign in Figure 2 helps them find the customs counter. It is a bilingual sign in Bahasa Indonesia and English.

Figure 2. Bilingual sign of customs counter.

As the passengers have picked up the baggage and need to go to the transit area on the second floor, they can take an elevator. Inside the elevator, there is a sign on Covid-19 precaution, as illustrated in Figure 3. The sign is attached to the wall of the elevator. It is written in English and Indonesian. The sign says, “Please stand here. Keep your distance to maintain social distancing.” It is partially translated to Indonesian, “Mohon jaga jarak di dalam lift.”

Figure 3. Bilingual sign of Covid-19 precaution.

If the final destination is Jakarta, the passengers can use available means of transportation around the airport. Figure 4 below presents the sign to help them find suitable modes of transportation. It is a multilingual sign in Indonesian, English, Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese, informing the passengers about the directions to the Skytrain, hotel shuttles, taxi and limousine, and public bus. The cursors inscribed on the sign function as the directional pointers, while the icons represent various means of transportation.

Figure 4. Multilingual sign for the means of transportation.

For the transit passengers, they can be guided by the following signage located on the second floor of SHIA Terminal 3. The sign in Figure 5 provides a map of the terminal containing various information such as Services and Facilities, Check-in Counter, and Food and Beverages.

Figure 5. Map of Terminal 3.

To further facilitate a convenient trip for the passengers, Angkasa Pura II, as the airport operator, provides information about the airport application. Figure 6 presents the sign of Aplikasi Indonesia Airports (Indonesia’s Airports Apps). It contains information about ticket reservations, online check-in, transportation to and from the airport, shop, and dine. The application is mainly in English.

Figure 6. Sign of Aplikasi Indonesia Airports.

Angkasa Pura II also prepares a special seat for disabled people, the elderly, pregnant women, and dependent children. The sign in Figure 7 illustrates it. Any passenger can know right away that the seat is really intended for people with special conditions by reading the phrase “Priority Seat”. It is an indication that the terminal is friendly to people with disabilities.  

Figure 7. Monolingual sign attached to the seat.

In the case of an emergency, the passengers and the airport staff can take a proper direction, as provided by the emergency sign in Figure 8. It is a monolingual sign written in Bahasa Indonesia. The Indonesian phrase “Otoritas Bandar Udara Wilayah 1 – Kelas Utama” means The Airport Authority Region 1 – First Class. The translation of “Jalur Evakuasi” in English is Emergency exit.

Figure 8. Indonesian monolingual emergency sign.

In the check-in area, the passengers can see the sign in Figure 9. It is a multilingual sign displaying Bahasa Indonesia, English, Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. The sign guides the passengers to find an international check-in counter or a domestic check-in counter, toilets, and prayer room for Muslims.

Figure 9. Multilingual sign on the second floor of SHIA Terminal 3.

Finally, the sign illustrated in Figure 10 helps the passengers discover the right ways to the international departure area, oversized baggage check-in counter, medical assistance desk, and money changer booths. It is also a multilingual sign written in Indonesian, English, Arabic, and Chinese.

Figure 10. Multilingual directional sign.

Overall, the linguistic landscape of SHIA Terminal 3 consists of Bahasa Indonesia, English, Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese. Bahasa Indonesia is present on the signage because it is the official and national language of Indonesia. English and Chinese are also visible on the airport signage because they are considered the two most popular international languages in Indonesia. Arabic and Japanese are also present on the signage in order to facilitate the Arabs and Japanese who come to Indonesia. Eventually, the signs presented in this article enhance the characteristics of SHIA Terminal 3 as an eco-friendly and modern terminal.


Pinasthika, L.T., Rizaldi, M. (2018). Signage effectivity in Soekarno-Hatta Internasional Airport Terminal 3. Idealogy 3(3), 304-318. Accessed on March 19, 2022

Ubaldus Djonda

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