Kertajati International Airport in West Java - Photo by: Angkasa Pura II

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia President Joko Widodo has called the stakeholders to speed up the development of Bandar Udara Internasional Jawa Barat (BIJB), which is also known as the Kertajati Airport, to integrate with several existing supporting infrastructures and industrial zones in West Java.

The airport launched its soft opening on Thursday after five year of construction. It is one of infrastructure projects under the Transportation Ministry that aims to support the regional economy. The airport will serve its commercial flights June 8.

The airport cost an estimated Rp 2.1 trillion (US$153.7 million). Combined with its operational costs, total investment in the new airport is Rp2.6 trillion.

Besides the main airport infrastructure that covers an area of 1,800 hectares, an ‘aerocity’ will also be built in a 3,490 hectare of land. The airport has two runways of more than 3.5 km in length to accommodate wide-body aircrafts such as Airbus A380.

After full operation, Kertajati Airport, with an annual capacity of up to 18 million passengers, is expected to serve international and domestic flights as well as Hajj group flights. It would replace Husein Sastratnegara Airport in Bandung, which is currently running at overcapacity. The airport will also operate cargo terminals with the official estimate at 1.5 million tons of cargo by 2045.

Currently, the airport is used only as an embarkation point of Hajj pilgrimage.

The Aerocity concept has been used widely in Indonesia. Both the airport and the aerocity are expected to boost economic activities in the province with the largest population in Indonesia and huge potential in agriculture and natural resources. This project could also bring more international trade and investments into the province.

The airport-aerocity concept is one of a kind for an Indonesian airport.

The airport was expected to serve people who wanted to fly from West Java cities and towns to their hometowns to celebrate the Idul Fitri holiday in June, but it depended on the airlines.

To ensure that the Airport is easily accessible, the West Java government and Kertajati Airport officials are building new roads and airport train structure. By land transport, the airport will be accessible by the Cikopo-Palimanan and Cisumdawu toll roads. Both toll roads will have direct access to Kertajati airport and they are working on the land acquisition.

According to the plan, the airport will be accessible by an airport train with official design resembling the rail link at Kualanamu Aiport in North Sumatera. Besides connecting the airport to major cities of Bandung and Cirebon, there is also a plan to extend the airport rail to Jakarta by leveraging on the current rail line.

The government planned to extend the railway network to Jakarta and through industrial zones such as Bekasi, Cikarang and Karawang in order to meet logistic needs. Kertajati Airport will also be accessible via the seaport in Cirebon, the main port in West Java and a logistic hub, Patimban Port.

Work on a US$3 billion project to build Patimban Port in Indonesia is expected to begin in July with the aim of the port being partially open for operation in March 2019.

Both projects, Kertajati Airport and Patimban Port, are expected to ease industrial density heavily concentrated on Jakarta and its satellite cities.

West Java Province economic growth has always been slightly higher than the national average. In first quarter 2018, the regional grew 6.02 per cent higher than national average which 5.06 per cent.

Manufacturing industry contributes the most to West Java GRDP, followed by Trade, Hotel and Restaurants, and Transportation and Communication Services.

Districts with highest investment are Bekasi, Karawang and Bogor, which are located near Jakarta.

The infrastructures in Bekasi, Karawang, and Bogor are in good condition and this maybe one of the reasons these districts are able to absorb large investment which in turn boost economic development in West Java Province.