MADINAH - As an airport projected to serve the Hajj and Umroh flights in 2018, PT West Java International Airport (BIJB) is exploring partnership with one of the best airports in the world, Amir Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz (AMAA) International Airport of Madinah.
Reciprocal cooperation is done considering Indonesia, especially West Java has a large enough market, to visit Mecca and Medina. The cooperation was conducted when PT BIJB led by Director of Virda Dimas Ekaputra, accompanied by Consulate General of Jeddah RI Muhamad Hery Saripudin during a visit to AMAA Madinah Airport, Monday, March 12, 2018. The entourage was greeted by airport operators, led by Managing Director of Tibah Airports Operation, Sofiene Abdessalem along with the ranks.
"In making this happen we simply proposed several concepts of cooperation related to Hajj and Umroh passenger service between Madinah Airport and West Java International Airport, Kertajati," said Virda.
Optimizing the quality of service for passengers Hajj and umroh is according to Virda, needed given the number of markets in Indonesia are not small each year. Based on the record, Indonesia is the world's top five most populous country, where the population is 261.1 million in 2016, and 85 percent are Muslim. West Java is the most populous province in Indonesia, with a population of 47 million.
The Indonesian government estimates that 17 percent of West Java people visit Hajj each year, the other 20 percent make a small pilgrimage or commonly called, Umrah. In the diplomatic meeting Tibah, explained the data, that the increase in the number of pilgrims from Indonesia to step on Medina; 2014 Umroh 141.144 and Hajj 91,230, then 2015 Umroh 152,448 and Hajj 155,938, in 2016 Umroh 188,518 and Hajj 155,376 then last or 2017 Umroh 335,747 and Hajj 199,215. The average increase of Umroh passengers from Indonesia to Madinah grew 53 percent per year. Indonesia contributed substantially to the visit to Madinah so that the Asia Pacific region became a fairly busy traffic that is 31 percent compared to four other continents.
Looking at the data, for then BIJB follow up, one of them doing cooperation with AMAA Airport. "Therefore, the cooperation we do because when Kertajati operate we also want to do excellent service and provide adequate facilities for the needs of hajj and umroh," said Virda.
As an airport that wants to grow friendly to halal traveler BIJB itself is showing it. One of them built an exclusive umroh lounge and 12 prayer halls to make the pilgrims comfortable at the airport. In an effort to attract the attention of the pilgrims BIJB will also build a hajj and umroh manasik facilities in which there is a miniature Kabah.
"So we place a territory for Hajj and Umrah, it will be an effective way to capture potential business not only for the congregation but also for the many parties involved," he explained.
Virda acknowledged that AMAA Airport, which once won the second best airport in the Middle East in 2016, by The Airport Council (ACI) is currently being piloted as having excellent service for passengers. "This cooperation is tentatively intended to be able to perform excellent service by measuring the level of visitor satisfaction," he said.
"The Median side welcomes these cooperation offers, and the next stage will be a special team to formulate the cooperation in more detail by making a return visit to BIJB in the near future," he added.
Managing Director of Tibah Airports Operation Sofiene Abdessalem said it welcomed the cooperation effort built by PT BIJB. Bilateral cooperation will certainly be mutually beneficial because it can equally gain knowledge and experience in terms of airport service.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with our BIJB colleagues to share their knowledge and expertise in order to enhance the passenger travel experience between the two airports that are focused on passengers of hajj and umroh," said Sofiene.
Kertajati Airport which currently has runway or runway along 2,500 meters is being boosted to be realized up to 3,000 meters in grand opening next June 2018. With a runway of 3,000 X 60 meters, means wide-bodied aircraft such as Boeing 777 which used to serve pilgrims and umroh passengers will be able to land without a hitch. While the terminal which in stage one will have an area of 9.6000 square meters will be expanded to 209,500 square meters. Initial capacity which initially only accommodate 5 million passengers, will ultimate to 29 million passengers every year.