Passengers to Be the Victims of Kertajati Airport’s Failed Planning

Indonesia, West Java, Kertajati, airport

Over a year ago, Indonesia President Joko Widodo opened festively the brand new Kertajati International Airport in West Java, due to replace Bandung Husein Sastranegara airport. As the airport remains empty, the government is now forcing airlines to relocate there. Except that it takes close to three hours to reach the airport from Bandung…

This is a typical Asian story of a misconceived infrastructure. Bandung Husein Sastranegara airport is suffering from overcrowding and also of its location in the centre of West Java capital, What is seen as an asset for passengers was certainly turning into an issue for both airlines and people living in the airport’s vicinity.

The Indonesian government then decided to build a brand new airport in Malajengka district, an area located… 98 km away north of Bandung! Kertajati is located closer to Cirebon on the coast, an hour away by tollway from the airport. However, from Bandung it takes so far over two hours and a half as the promised tollway has not been finished despite the project being started already in 2012. Most optimistic forecasts talk now about a completion by the end of the year. Currently the main road to link the airport from Bandung is the Cikampek-Palimanan tollway…

Consequently, Husein Sastranegara Airport serves 80 flights every day, while Kertajati Airport serves only one route from the eleven initially planned last year. The passengers load factor on Kertajati single flight is reportedly to be below 30 percent.

But this will change and that will probably raise anger from passengers. Local and national governments’ representatives as well as the airport’s authority agreed last week to transfer flights from Bandung to Kertajatui, starting July 1st. The move will be compulsory and concerns all the flights which are linking Bandung to places outside Java Island, Lampung in Southern Sumatra as well as the international flights to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Lion Air will move over 20 daily flights serving 9 domestic routes to Batam, Denpasar, Medan, Pekanbaru, Lombok, Makassar, Balikpapan, Banjarmasin and Pontianak. Garuda announce to transfer as well its Bandung-Denpasar daily service. It is not sure that such a move would then stimulate traffic into the empty airport. Probably, it would encourage passengers to fly instead to Jakarta and then transfer by car to Bandung, only two hours away by tollway.