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West Java’s Kertajati Airport starts operation on Thursday

Kertajati International Airport in Majalengka, West Java, will officially start its operation as an international airport on Thursday, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

“The airport was opened as an international airport [on Thursday],” said Budi after a meeting with Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan at Luhut’s office, adding that certificates and other operational permits had been issued by the relevant agencies.

“[All licenses] have been completed. [June] 24 is its official operation day as an international airport. In fact, we’re allowed to operate today,” the minister said, adding that the soft launching of the airport would be implemented in the near future.

However, Budi said the airport would be used as an embarkation point for the haj pilgrimage in August because its runway was not long enough to carry wide-bodied aircraft, which are mostly used for long-haul flights to Mecca. The airport only has a 2,600 meter-long runway, while wide-bodied aircraft such as Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s need at least a 3,000 m-long runway.

The minister explained that the “historical landing” would be marked by a flight from Jakarta to Kertajati, which would be noted as a maiden flight to the airport.

He also said 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.

“We want to do so, but we have to talk to the airlines. They have preference on which airport they would fly from. From the airport’s side, starting from May 24, it is ready for operation,” he added.

Kertajati International Airport is located some 200 kilometers from Jakarta. Its development cost an estimated Rp 2.1 trillion (US$153.7 million). Combined with its operational costs, total investment in the new airport will be about Rp 2.6 trillion.

The airport’s developer, PT Bandara Internasional Jawa Barat (BIJB), is owned by West Java province. (bbn)

Source: The Jakarta Post