Bandung, W Java (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) flagged off the full operation of the Cileunyi-Sumedang-Dawuan (Cisumdawu) Toll Road at Cisumdawu Twin Tunnel Kilometer (KM) 169/200, Sumedang District, West Java Province, on July 11, 2023.

The operation of the highway has raised hopes of increased activities at Kertajati Airport or West Java International Airport in Majalengka District, West Java Province, as the road will provide easier access to the airport.

In his remarks, the President said that the development of the Cisumdawu Toll Road was supposed to be completed concurrently with the construction of Kertajati Airport, which was inaugurated in May 2018.

He expressed the hope that the full operation of the 61.6 km-highway, which took 12 years to build, will help the airport become fully operational by October 2023 as well as support the economic development of the surrounding areas.

It is expected that the toll road will allow people to reach the airport within an hour from Bandung city, the capital city of West Java Province.

The government is also encouraging the development of Kertajati Airport by diverting commercial flights from Husein Sastranegara Airport, Bandung City.

Furthermore, foreign investors have also been invited to take part in managing the airport. Interested investors have been asked to complete the necessary processes before October.

Widodo said that several countries have shown interest in investing in the development of the airport, although he did not provide further details.

It is hoped that the involvement of foreign investors would boost flight traffic at the airport, thus it could become one of the major airports in Indonesia in the future, he added.

At a press conference in December 2022, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said that India and Saudi Arabia had expressed their interest in managing the airport.

Since May 28, 2023, the airport has been serving Hajj and Umrah flights. It was used as an embarkation point for the Hajj pilgrimage and served around 8 thousand pilgrims from 7 districts/cities of West Java, the President noted.

Currently, Kertajati Airport is running Umrah flights four times a week as well as international flights to and from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, twice a week.

Acuviarta Kartabi, an economist from Pasundan University (Unpas), Bandung city, said that the government needs to pay attention to several issues to optimize the impact of Cisumdawu Toll Road on Kertajati Airport and its surrounding areas.

First, additional access to the highway, such as a ring road, should be provided for the Greater Bandung Area considering the high traffic in the area.

Meanwhile, the southern areas of West Java Province can be connected to Cisumdawu Toll Road through the Gedebage-Tasikmalaya-Cilacap (Getaci) Toll Road, which is still under construction.

This way, in addition to increasing air transport mobility, the Cisumdawu Toll Road is also expected to boost the number of tourist visits.

According to Kartabi, the highway could also optimize the economic potential of the districts of Sumedang and Majalengka.

Furthermore, the government needs to re-evaluate the tariff that is planned to be implemented on the highway because it will be used more frequently by the public than by industry players, he added.

The economic observer explained that higher tariff will influence the number of people willing to travel on Cisumdawu Toll Road.

He said he is optimistic that expanding air traffic and flight routes as well as fully operating Cisumdawu Toll Road would make people prefer Kertajati Airport over Soekarno Hatta International Airport, which is located in Banten Province.

The establishment of the highway cost around Rp18.3 trillion (US$1.215 billion), with almost half of it -- or Rp9.08 trillion (US$603.2 million) – sourced from the state budget.

Meanwhile, the rest was financed via public-private partnership (KPBU) as well as the private sector.

Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said that the Cisumdawu Toll Road is connected to the Cikopo-Palimanan (Cipali) Toll Road, which is also expected to optimize the operation of Kertajati Airport.

Hence, by using the Cisumdawu Toll Road, people traveling from Bandung city to the airport will not need to take a detour through the Cipali Toll Road and Cikampek–Purwakarta–Padalarang (Cipularang) Toll Road, he explained.

The planned toll of the Cisumdawu Toll Road is Rp1,275 (US$0.08) per kilometer, he informed, which is considered much cheaper compared to other highways since the government has financed half of the development budget of the toll road.

A huge task

Governor of West Java Ridwan Kamil said that he was grateful that the Cisumdawu Toll Road will finally be fully opened during his term of office.

The development of the highway, which connects Bandung city with Majalengka District was not easy, especially regarding land acquisition.

For the construction of the toll road, the local government was asked to handle the land acquisition process.

Meanwhile, the PUPR Ministry and toll road business entity (BUJT) PT Citra Karya Jabar Tol — a subsidiary of state-run BUJT PT Waskita Toll Road — carried out the construction.

Governor Ridwan Kamil is optimistic that the establishment of the Cisumdawu Toll Road will complement the land transport access to Kertajati Airport, which has been connected to Cipali Toll Road since December 2021.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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