Kertajati International Airport (KJT) is now fully operational as the entry point to Indonesia’s West Java, with all commercial airlines having moved operations from Husein Sastranegara Airport in Bandung.
Located in Majalengka, about 90-minute drive away from Bandung, KJT is the second biggest airport in Indonesia, after Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, with 26 aircraft parking stands and a capacity of 5.6 million passengers a year.
The airport supports 16 daily domestic flights by Super Airjet, Citilink, and Indonesia AirAsia, regional flights to Kuala Lumpur by Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, and Umrah and Haj services.
With the ability to accommodate larger, wide-bodied aircraft, the new airport is expected to help speed up economic development in eastern West Java and northern Java. Local travel trade also anticipates a boost to tourism for Bandung and the surrounding areas.
Budijanto Ardiansjah, chairman of the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA) West Java Chapter, said KJT will help to spread travel demand beyond Greater Bandung and encourage the “development of areas like Cirebon, Indramayu and Majalengka, which have (tourism) potential”.
Exotic Java Trails’ owner Daniel Nugraha added that AirAsia’s twice weekly flights will enable the creation of four- or five-night packages that take guests to Cirebon and Kuningan before entering Bandung from Majalengka.
Daniel said: “With the government’s plans to attract international direct flights, including from Singapore and the Middle East, the opening of the airport is expected to attract traffic to and from places like Semarang and Pekalongan in the north cost of Java (belonging to the Central Java province).”
However, more efforts to promote the gateway are needed, as Whoosh, the new Jakarta-Bandung speed rail service, offers a quick alternative; the latter is able to cut travel time from three hours to less than an hour.
Daniel said: “The West Java government have never conducted any (tourism) promotions. It is crucial to do a roadshow in the target markets together with the regency governments around the area and industry players, because (very few) people know about Kertajati and Majalengka.”
He added that promotions are even more crucial since Whoosh has made Jakarta a more appealing gateway to Bandung and West Java. Whoosh could be a “new attraction that (tourists) want to try”.
Exotic Java Trails has a couple of groups from Malaysia taking at least a one-way trip on Whoosh, with more booking up to February 2024.
Budijanto, who expressed concerns that the new airport was still lacking in facilities, such as restaurants and hotels, also urged “the regency governments and travel related industries in the surrounding areas to be active in developing and grabbing the markets”.