New Kertajati Airport in West Java Starting Commercial Flights in June

Indonesia, air transport, airport, Kertajati

Indonesia newest greenfield air infrastructure, Kertajati International Airport in West Java, has been officially soft launched by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The new airport for Bandung is however hard to reach as ground transportation infrastructures are still not ready…

Kertajati International Airport in Majalengka, West Java, was officially inaugurated by President Joko Widodo on May 24. The soft launching of the brand new airport, built from scratch, is always an important step for Indonesia which suffers notoriously from insufficient infrastructure.

The new airport is located 200 km North of Jakarta and 70 km from Bandung, West Java capital. It is also some 40 km away from Cirebon, a city of 300,000 inhabitants and important trading port.

Kertajati international airport superficy is 1,800 hectares which makes it the second largest airport in Indonesia after Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. It has been designed to handle in the long term some 30 million passengers and be served by a system of three runways. Total investment for the first phase of the airport is estimated to cost Us$165 million.

The airport was inaugurated with the landing of Jokowi presidential aircraft Indonesia-1. The airport has for the time being one runway with a length of 2,500 meters runway, that is due to be extended by the autumn to 3,000 m.The three-floor passengers terminal is able to accommodate 5.5 million passengers per year in its first phase.

Kertajati will officially receive its first commercial flights in June, just in time for Muslims to go back home for Idul Fitri, according to West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan. It will by then offer international facilities such as immigration and customs authorities present as well as special security for international flights. The airport will first be connected with a few domestic destinations (Medan and Surabaya could be among the first cities to be connected to Kertajati). Citilink already announced to come to the airport while Lion Air and Wings Air have expressed their interest.

However, Kertajati International Airport will first mostly serve to welcome Haj pilgrimage from West Java to Mecca. Five groups have already been confirmed.

Speaking after Kertajati’s soft launch, Jokowi said the airport would help boost West Java’s economy. The airport is due to be connected to a new international seaport in Patimban, 42 km away from the airport.

However, a major issue -which is a recurrent problem for Indonesia- is the lack of coordination between various infrastructure implemented in a same project. While Kertajati is now opened, they are no efficient way to go there. A special tollway to Bandung is still in the process of being constructed as the government continues to struggle to acquire land. According to the Ministry of Transport, only 80% of the land has been secured for the time being. It means that it will take at least another two years to have the road finished.

The 70-km distance to Bandung would have been ideal for a train connection. An agreement between the airport and state railways has only been signed a few months ago to let the future high speed train from Jakarta to Bandung to be prolonged up to the airport. Which probably will translate most probably into another decade before to turn real.

While Kertajati airport is a favourable factor for the development of Indonesia, it will not really help relieving congestion at both Bandung  and Jakarta international airports as long as access will be a problem.