JAKARTA - Three ministers, namely the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Minister of Religion Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, and Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi decided to use Kertajati Airport as an embarkation for haj pilgrims to depart this year.
This decision was taken at the Kertajati Airport Readiness Coordination Meeting for the Implementation of Hajj and Umrah at the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Jakarta, Friday (10/5/19).
The meeting was attended by Deputy Governor of West Java Uu Ruzhanul Ulum, Regional Assistant for Law and People's Welfare West Java Provincial Secretariat Dauh Achmad, Head of West Java Transportation Agency Hery Antasari, and Finance and General Director of PT BIJB Muhamad Singgih.
Met after the meeting, Deputy Governor Uu said in the meeting it was decided that Kertajati Airport would be used for flights and embarkation of Hajj starting this year.
"It was agreed by three ministers, deciding that this year Kertajati International Airport is used for hajj embarkation from West Java," Uu said.
Furthermore, Uu revealed, in fact the West Java Provincial Government (Pemdaprov) together with airport operators had prepared several things related to the needs of supporting facilities such as the Hajj hostel. There are two alternative locations that can be used for dormitories, namely in Cirebon or Majalengka.
"So, when this decision was made, we were not too busy because there was preparation. In principle, we were ready for the dormitory," said Uu.
Following this decision, the Deputy Governor and the Governor plan to hold a coordination meeting with the relevant parties on Monday next week.
As for Umrah, Uu explained that Kertajati Airport had previously served Umrah flights. However, starting this year Umrah flights from Kertajati Airport will be increased mainly to serve residents of eastern West Java.
"The second decision of these three ministers, Umrah for the West Java region must be from the Kertajati embarkation," he explained.
Hajj and Umrah flights will be one of the solutions to maximize the use of Kertajati Airport as an international airport.
Head of the West Java Transportation Agency, Hery Antasari, said that the Hajj and Umrah will further encourage Kertajati as the main air transportation facility in West Java.
Moreover, there has been a decision, that starting June 15, 2019 flights from Java Island from Bandung's Husein Sastranegara Airport will be moved to Kertajati Airport. There are 12 routes outside of Java from 19 existing flight routes at Husein Sastranegara Airport.
"Umrah and Hajj will certainly encourage this Kertajati Airport to become the main air hub for West Java, as well as having been decided separately on commercial flights from Husein Sastranegara Airport (Bandung) to Kertajati Airport," Hery said.
"Surely this will add to the operationalization, optimization of Kertajati Airport," he continued.
The same thing was conveyed by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan. According to him, Hajj and Umrah flights will have an influence on flight traffic in Jakarta.
"This (the Hajj and Umrah flights from Kertajati) will affect traffic in Jakarta and Kertajati will function better," Luhut said.
Meanwhile, the operator of Kertajati Airport has also stated its readiness to serve Hajj and Umrah flights starting this year. Met on the same occasion, the Finance and General Director of PT BIJB Muhamad Singgih said, technically from the flight side for the runway of 3,000 meters it could already be used. However, the BIJB is still awaiting the feasibility certification that comes out in June 2019.
If there is already a certificate for the runway, Kertajati can serve direct flights, for example Kertajati-Madinah. While related to preparations for the airline office, Singgih admitted that his party was preparing and would be completed before this year's Hajj season.
"The 3,000 runways are awaiting certification, but will be fast. The schedule for June (2019) has been completed for certification of the 3,000 meter runway usage," Singgih explained.
"If the 3,000 meter flight can direct directly from Kertajati to Madinah or to Jeddah," he continued.
Religious Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin fully supports the use of Kertajati Airport for Hajj and Umrah flights. However, Lukman stressed several conditions that must be met.
First, the Ketersesiaan Hajj hostel. Lukman said, the Hajj boarding house would not only function as a place for lodging but also as a place for quarantine prospective pilgrims. For this reason, the Hajj dormitory must be sterile and have the proper system for the standard of service and organization of the Hajj.
"This dormitory is not only for staying but also needs a large hall to gather all pilgrims," Lukman explained.
For the airlines themselves, the Ministry of Transportation will count how many flight groups can depart from Kertajati Airport, from a total of 20 pilgrims from West Java.
Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said that this would affect aircraft rotation and flight slots from Soekarno-Hatta Cengkareng Airport to Kertajati Airport.
"So, there will be some flight slots from Seokarno-Hatta Airport (moving) to Kertajati Airport," said Budi. (*)