Archipelago

Competition accelerates
Kertajati airport schedule

Crowds throng Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. (JP/Nurhayati)
Crowds throng Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. (JP/Nurhayati)

The West Java provincial administration will advance the opening of a proposed international airport in Kertajati, Majalengka, to 2018, a senior official said on Monday.

Provincial secretary Lex Laksamana said that the airport would open two years ahead of schedule to avoid competition from another proposed international airport in the province, in Karawang.

“If Kertajati enters operation later than 2020, then it will be outdone by Karawang. Don’t be beaten by Karawang,” he said during a focus group discussion on the West Java International Airport.

“With the schedule being put forward, we should increase the [airport’s] capacity for aircraft handling, passengers and cargo from the initial plan.”

While both Karawang and Majalengka regencies are under West Java, Karawang’s airport, proposed by the central government, has been seen as trumping the provincial administration’s plan to build one in Kertajati.

The airport in Kertajati is projected to replace Husein Sastranegara International Airport in the provincial capital, Bandung, while the Karawang airport has been as a complement to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, which mostly serves Jakarta.

The West Java provincial administration has paid Rp 250 billion (US$26.64 million) to acquire 634 hectares in Kertajati for the airpor.

The spokesman for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth Committee, Edib Muslim, said that the Kertajati airport was needed to relieve pressure on Soekarno-Hatta.

“It will be too late if we wait for Karawang,” he said.

Edib said that Kertajati’s annual passenger capacity would be boosted from 12 to 24 million while its main runway would be lengthened from 3,000 meters to 3,600 meters to accommodate larger airplanes.

“Cargo handling capacity must also be increased from only 85,000 tons per year because Karawang will be handling 1.2 million tons,” he said.

Lex agreed with the recommendations of 24 million passengers per year while the cargo handling capacity will be boosted to 500,000 tons per year.

“We are expecting Kertajati to be a logistics center because the industry is already prepared for that,” he said.

He said he would also requested help from the Air Transportation Directorate General because the provincial administration had yet to appoint the airport operator.

“We are avoiding private party as airport operator. It is better using an existing one, such as [state airport operators] Angkasa Pura I or II,” he said.

Meanwhile, the West Java Development Planning Board chief, Deny Juanda, said his office would establish a management unit to operate the airport. The management unit would represent the provincial administration from development to operation phase of the airport.

“We may appoint a province-owned enterprise to cooperate in operating the airport,” he said. (nvn)

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