The grand opening of Kertajati Airport in Majalengka, West Java, as Indonesia’s second-largest airport, following Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Tangerang, Banten, was an event of profound significance, celebrated on October 29, 2023. The day was marked by the departure of passengers on an AirAsia flight from Kertajati to Denpasar, a ceremony presided over by Budi Karya Sumadi, the Minister of Transportation.
In a highly enthusiastic statement during a press conference held at Kertajati Airport, Minister Budi expressed his delight, saying, “I am extremely happy that we are officially conducting the first flight at Kertajati, and Alhamdulillah, with a relatively good volume for a first-time airport, including 20 takeoffs and landings.”
The remarkable aspect of the day was the impressive 80% passenger occupancy rate, indicating a promising start for Kertajati Airport and underscoring the tremendous enthusiasm for its operations. This solidified Kertajati’s status as the second-largest airport in the country, a well-deserved recognition of its significant role in Indonesia’s aviation landscape.
One of the primary objectives of Kertajati Airport is to focus on facilitating the departures of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims. Minister Budi also took the opportunity to elucidate the government’s rationale for relocating airport operations from Husein Sastranegara Airport to Kertajati.
He pointed out that the relatively short runway at Husein Sastranegara Airport and its location in a basin were key factors influencing the decision to transfer flight operations to Kertajati. This shift represents a pivotal moment in the airport’s development, setting it on a trajectory toward a brighter future and underscoring its critical role in serving the needs of pilgrims on their spiritual journeys to Mecca and other religious destinations.
Furthermore, Kertajati International Airport is poised to accommodate an annual passenger volume ranging from 5.6 million to 12 million by the year 2024. This considerable growth potential underscores the importance of fostering robust support for aviation activities at Kertajati from all relevant stakeholders, including government bodies, local authorities, the Ministry of Tourism, and the business community.
The transition involved the redirection of seven routes from Husein Airport to Kertajati Airport, a strategic move aimed at enhancing connectivity across key destinations in Indonesia. These routes encompass crucial cities and regions, such as Balikpapan, Banjarmasin, Batam, Denpasar, Makassar, Medan, and Palembang. Various airlines, including Citilink, AirAsia, and Super Air Jet, serve these routes, ensuring travelers have a diverse range of options for their journeys.
In addition to domestic routes, Kertajati Airport has been operating international scheduled flights to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, since mid-May 2023. These international connections open up new possibilities for travelers seeking convenient access to the region, thereby enhancing international relations and boosting tourism.
Kertajati’s significance extends beyond the realm of tourism and travel. It also plays a vital role in serving the needs of pilgrims embarking on spiritual journeys to Mecca and other religious destinations. This unique intersection of spiritual and logistical significance underscores the multifaceted importance of Kertajati Airport in the lives of both travelers and the local community.
The successful inauguration of Kertajati Airport represents a significant milestone in Indonesia’s aviation sector, and its transformative potential is set to reshape the country’s transportation landscape. This achievement opens doors to broader economic and cultural exchanges while providing a gateway to spiritual fulfillment for countless pilgrims. Kertajati Airport’s future is indeed bright, promising to be a beacon of progress and connectivity for Indonesia.