MAJALENGKA, – International flights from West Java International Airport (BIJB) Kertajati, Majalengka Regency, officially opened by serving Umrah flights to Madinah. Hundreds of worshipers from West Java and western Central Java who were going on a spiritual journey were directly released by West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil.
The release of the pilgrims was marked by the embedding of a scarf by Ridwan Kamil to two pilgrims from Cirebon in the international departure area of Kertajati Airport, Saturday, October 13, 2018. It was witnessed directly by the Regional Assistant II of the West Java Provincial Secretariat Edy Nasution, Regent of Majalengka Karna Sobahi as well as the Muspida, President Director Lion Air Group Edward Sirait, Angkasa Pura II Technical and Operations Director Djoko Muratmodjo, PT BIJB President Director Virda Dimas Ekaputra, Dream Tour Vice President Muhammad Umar Bakadam as Umrah travel agency and PT DGI Fauzi Wahyu Muntoro President Director.
“Today I am happy, because finally this new and quite comfortable airport can dispatch the Umrah Pilgrims. We will fly the Umrah Pilgrims from Ciayumajakuning and its surroundings through Kertajati Airport,” said the man who is familiarly called Emil in his speech.
The West Java Provincial Government, which is currently the majority shareholder of Kertajati Airport, according to Emil, feels that it has a duty to be able to maximize the potential of the airport that was inaugurated on May 24, 2018. Since the operation of the airport, it only serves one domestic flight with the Surabaya – Kertajati route and vice versa with Citilink airline. With the Kertajati – Madinah flight, its hopes for the future can be more attractive in terms of both domestic and international routes.
“I as the new Governor of West Java certainly has a duty to be able to further develop the potential of BIJB Kertajati Majalengka, so that in the future BIJB can be a big airport because the market potential is quite large,” said the man who often wears the cap.
West Java is currently the province with the largest number of population in Indonesia, touching 48 million people. So far the majority of human movements in West Java for international flights still rely on Soekarno-Hatta Airport, especially for long-distance trips to the Holy Land Mecca. Even though the potential of Umrah pilgrims in the regions of Cirebon, Indramayu, Majalengka and Kuningan reached 150 thousand and West Java as a whole was 300 thousand. That number can reach 1,500 flights per year.
The airport in Cengkareng is considered to be very crowded because the human movement there reaches 63 million a year. Cengkareng Airport is considered to be busier than Changi with 62 million passengers a year. Emil said the market in the aviation world has an attractive growth force, especially in Indonesia today.
Therefore, he entrusted PT BIJB and Angkasa Pura II as operators to be more attractive in developing their current potential. Along with the technology must be improved again to become smart Airport like Singapore Changi International Airport.
“Our population is almost 50 million. BIJB must continue to improve service and progress because we will also promote this airport. I have a proposal to be able to be like Changi Airport which is indeed crowded because of the (concept) mall that has a license,” explained Emil.
CEO of Lion Air Group Edward Sirait said, Kertajati Airport became the 11th Airport in Indonesia to serve Umrah flights directly to Madinah. Previously Lion Air had opened flights to Madinah from Pekanbaru, Makassar and Solo. “For now, the flight is once a week, but in the future I want Lion Air to be able to serve Jamaah Umroh flights at BIJB Kertajati every day,” said Edwar Sirait.
Virda Dimas Ekaputra explained, the submission of the Umrah flight slot from Kertajati is actually done three times a week. It’s just that for the test market flights are tested once a week. Gradually the flight to Kertajati Madinah will increase if the passenger market continues to increase.
“We see first the market conditions where we try once a week. Lion Air itself says once a day. But if I hope it will only be three times a day,” said Virda.
One hundred pilgrims who were accommodated by the Dream Tour and DGI Rafting Bureau were flown by Lion Air aircraft. The Boeing 737-800 max aircraft with 800 seat capacity took off at 12:45 WIB. The aircraft will transit in India for refueling purposes. Even though the transit of pilgrims will still arrive in Medina on the same day.