Flight Number: ID7502 Origin Airport: Juanda International Airport - Surabaya, Indonesia (IATA: SUB/ICAO: WARR), Terminal 1 Destination Airport: Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport - Jakarta, Indonesia (IATA: HLP/ICAO: WIHH)
All time information are given in Western Indonesian Time (UTC+07.00) Standard Time of Departure: 1505 hrs Actual Time of Departure: 1521 hrs Standard Time of Arrival: 1635 hrs Actual Time of Arrival: 1623 hrs
Aircraft Registration Number: PK-LAH (MSN 6309) Aircraft Type: Airbus A320-214 Aircraft Age: 3 years (delivered October 2014)
Hello fellow readers! In this opportunity, I'll be sharing a report on the returning flight from the Surabaya trip that I made last month, where I boarded GA's A332 as the outbound flight to SUB. During my recent history of flying, Batik Air recently became my 2nd favourite when it comes to domestic and regional flights. A few things I like about ID is their new fleet, IFEs on board (if you're lucky, and if you know what I mean), the light meal service, the vast choice of domestic routes, and flexibility to opt your port of departure and arrival in Jakarta, as ID operates out of both CGK, and if you haven't know yet, Jakarta's less famous and smaller international airport, Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport. Also, Batik Air is notable for having a much better punctuality track record than its low-cost parent company Lion Air, which is infamous for their "outstanding yet remarkable time and fleet management".
This is a quite special occasion because this is only one out of the two flights I've flown in, that involves Halim Perdanakusuma Intl. Airport. With the first one having tried the Wings Air Jakarta-Bandung 130-kilometre ferry service that was delayed for 4.5 hours, which roughly means you can literally fly Jakarta-Bandung 9 times because the flight only takes 30 minutes with an ATR72-600. It was a really "joyous" experience that emphasizes the "outstanding yet remarkable time and fleet management" which has been the all-time company policy of Lion Group. At least what's great about the flight is the ATR72 that I boarded on, the PK-WGS, is a 3-year old aircraft that surprisingly still looks and feels squeaky clean and smells brand new as well!
A History of Halim Perdanakusuma Airport
To start with the review, let me give some information about HLP. Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, is one out of two international airports serving the capital city of Jakarta. The existence of an airfield dates back since the 1940s where Indonesia was still under Dutch sovereignty. The Dutch founded this airfield as a military base, naming it Vliegveld Tjililitan which translates as Cililitan Airfield. Is in named after the vicinity that it was located in, Cililitan. Halim Perdanakusuma Airport is located some 10 kilometres of downtown Jakarta and is located completely within the city limits of Jakarta, particularly in East Jakarta division. It has a 3000 metre-long runway capable of handling wide-bodied aircraft.
Back in the 1960s, the airport was jointly used both by the Indonesian Air Force, functioning it as an airbase while civilians utilised is as the primary international gateway to Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia. While most of the domestic flights were operated out of Kemayoran Airfield which is already demolished now. It was until 1985, the opening of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport means all operations, both domestic and international were shifted to the new airport in Tangerang. From 1985, the airport functioned solely as an airbase for the military and provided service to VIP, private aircraft, and flying schools. The president's aircraft always takes off out of HLP until now.
The increase in aviation technology means more planes are able to reach Jakarta in single and direct flights and with the arrival of newcomers in the airline industry of Indonesia, CGK is getting more and more congested, despite having already 2 terminals and 2 runways at that time. That's why amidst the issues a question arose again to the headlines, whether it is necessary to re-operate the aging Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. Owing high and congested traffic at CGK, from 2013 Islamic pilgrimage season, the Ministry of Religion Affairs and its partner carriers conducted flights to Jeddah and Medina from HLP with wide-body aircraft such as Boeing 777, Boeing 747 and Airbus A330s. As the pilgrimage season chartered flights are proved to be effective, the government and the authorities finally decided to re-open Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport for public service once again. The commercial services are catered by Angkasa Pura II, the same company that manages the CGK airport. It commenced on January 10th, 2014, with 74 flight slots available each day. The biggest airline to operate out of HLP is Garuda's low-cost subsidiary Citilink, with 32 slots taken for them each day. Other carriers are Batik Air, Wings Air, and Susi Air. In 2016 alone the airport handled 5.6 million movements of passenger traffic. Now, with more than 4 years after the re-enactment of commercial flights from the airport it has become a favourite to some people who live within downtown East Jakarta and some parts of South Jakarta, as road traffic going into and out of HLP tends to be lighter than to CGK which is 32 kilometres away from the city center. It has also gained reputation among businessmen who are in need of a quick, strategic port of departure to various Indonesian destinations, owing its location within the city borders.
Suabaya is a city that hosts numerous decent and well above-average state and private universities, such as Airlangga University (Unair), Universitas Pembangunan Nasional (UPN), and the engineering university Institut Teknologi Sepuluh November (ITS). Luckily enough, I have some of my friends who attend the universities there and one of them happens to be kind enough to give me a hitch to the airport.
If from the previous flight outbound I disembarked and took a cab from Terminal 2 because I flew with GA then this time I'm departing from T1 because that's where the domestic carriers are. Here is a glimpse of the drop-off zone. Passenger movement that day was not really crowded as it was nowhere near the holiday season.
The public space within the drop-off zone has plenty of dining and shopping selections to offer
And there's even a transit hotel which is literally within the airport and needs no transfer by any means of transport at all! You don't get these at CGK though, all the airport hotels still needs a few minutes ride by a car to get to the terminal building, although usually by confirmation via boarding pass/e-ticket they some of them will offer complimentary airport transfer.
Walk down this short hall to get to the entrance of the check-in area
And here's the first security checks, the system that applies here is still the conventional system where the check-in area is off-limits for those who are not ticket holders. If I'm not mistaken, the only airports to implement the open check-in area are Kualanamu in Medan and the Terminal 3 at CGK. The remaining 2 terminals at CGK still use the conventional system.
Passed the x-ray control and you'll see a huge screen lurking above you. You can see that in the FID's displayed here that CGK is referred as "Jakarta" while HLP is referred as "Halim PK"
It's a pretty relaxing hour for the check-in counter staffs, no signs of queueing. I also have the advantage of proceeding directly to the 2nd security checks since I'm not carrying any checked-in baggage and I've made the online check-in and seat reservation beforehand. I decided to keep the boarding pass sent to me via e-mail that way in my phone, so I could just show them to the AVSEC when I'm boarding.
Batik Air is promoting their daily Eastern Indonesia-bound night flights from Surabaya. With a stop at Makassar-Sultan Hasanuddin Intl. (WAAA/UPG) you can reach four jewels of the east, Sorong, Merauke, Manokwari, and Ambon by the morning. Flights from UPG to Sorong, Timika, and Manokwari might require just 2.5 to 3 hours while to Ambon will just take 1.5 hours but they will still arrive by sunrise because there is a 2-hour time difference between Surabaya and the 4 cities. They observe the Eastern Indonesia Time or we Indonesians, usually refer as WIT (Waktu Indonesia Timur, the translation of Eastern Indonesia Time). Despite being observed by only 4 out of 34 Indonesian provinces, (Maluku, North Maluku, Papua, and West Papua) the time zone still covers a very vast area. This places the 4 cities in the same time with Japan, South Korea, Yakutia in Russia, Palau, and East Timor.
Managed to get a shot of the T1 check-in hall restrooms. Cleanliness is just average nor does the latter has odour issues.
Exited the restrooms, turned right and headed straight to these long escalators, or the conventional stairs if you prefer a more healthy and calorie-burning option.
The stair and escalator leads us to a hall right before the 2nd security screening. Maybe a queueing line could be arranged during the peak holiday seasons, but since today is a typical Saturday in the middle of November there's nothing to be seen here. The ornaments and architecture of the hall, and in fact the whole T1 building containts of hints of Majapahit Era-inspired elements and decorations. Majapahit is a Hindu kingdom that once ruled almost the whole nation including the Malayan Peninsula as well during the 13th to the 15th century.
And directly after completing the security screening you will see direction signage to each of the boarding gates. Layout of the departure hall is pretty simple because it's just a long corridor from one edge to another, and the security screening comes out just in between.
Citilink boards through gates 9, 10, and 10A, just for your kind information
A smaller FID somewhere along the long hallway. If you noticed, there is actually another flight to HLP after mine (ID 7508) and it's only 10 minutes apart. 2 flights within 10 minutes wiith the same destination. I wonder what that's meant for.
The commercial area hasn't got really much to offer
Made it to gate 8 where my ride is already waiting. Apparently some part of the gate is undergoing renovation under the purpose of interior enhancements.
Is that my ride? No, it's PK-LUV operating ID 7508 with the same destination as mine but 10 minutes apart. So interestingly you have people boarding two aircrafts, with the same destination, a similar departure time all in the same waiting lounge. That's not an everyday sighting in other places I guess.
It's barely 15 minutes since I sat down in the waiting lounge and boarding for my flight commenced already. Juanda Airport has adequate numbers of airbridges for the traffic that it is handling right now and the boarding process for normal flights like this one to HLP is done by airbridges as well.
Hopping on to my ride
Passing through the business class rows
I'm sitting at 15A for today, a seat by the window on the left side of the aircraft
That's PK-LUV that's also going to HLP within the next few minutes
The flight is occupied, I guess somewhere between 70 to 80 percent occupancy. As I'm among the first to board it'll be a while until the doors are closed and pushback is commenced
I'm trying my best to be really, really objective on this one but personally I like the Batik Air economy seats better than GA's. It has a bit more legroom, a more ergonomic seating position, and a roomy feel to it. Even though these synthetic leather material aren't as pleasing as GA's standard fabric upholstery in terms of feel quality and colour.
How the safety instruction cards look like, clearly legible but they definitely aren't the best in graphic design and making the card more appealing to passengers to read
As today I'm flying with PK-LAH, IFE is in the house for today's flight! (ID's PK-LA* A320 fleet is equipped with IFE, while the PK-LU* aren't, for those who are not aware. Other fleets like the 738/739 are completely equipped with IFE).
One thing about the Batik IFE: it's huge and it's fully touch-screen operated. No remote control or whatsoever. I really like the sharp images and the big screen, it's really satisfying if you were to fly on these on longer flights.
Batik Air does not provide any headphones/earphones to facilitate your usage of the IFE. Luckily for me, the audio jack just by the left edge of the screen happens to be compatible with my own earphone so I nailed it. So whenever you're travelling with ID, bringing your own audio device like a headphone/earphone would come in handy. I've also heard about rumours that Batik Air is getting complaints regarding this issue and that rumour also said Batik Air is commercializing the IFE and they're not being honest at all about the full-service carrier slogan they're selling to the people, saying they will charge you for earphones.
Well, I hope this review clarifies all but honestly, I do not see any of the FA's selling headphones/earphones/anything related to audio, nor seeing anyone around me requesting for one, neither seeing a transaction being made as well. The only thing the FA's do are distributing the snack, recollecting the waste, and assisting if there is anyone who needs help. So, I guess the Indonesian social media network is really a bunch of hoaxes, fake news that are continuously getting likes, shares, and creating polemic around the timeline.
A 3rd-world developing country with over 250 million people should re-consider the liberation of internet access and smartphones to certain people, because these dumb people who are incapable of wisely choosing which content should be re-thought over to be shared or the other way shouldn't be holding smartphones in their hand. It's becoming really getting out of hand. These people are becoming commodities of misguided political powers to counter opposing political forces through social media, creating public framing towards any entity that becomes their target.
Alright, let's get back to the IFE section. I photographed a few of the movie selections available on the system. To be honest, the IFE has a whole lot to offer. Competes evenly with the one that GA has to offer.
It's pushback time!
This is the first time seeing a ID safety video because back in 2016 I boarded a Batik Air flight to JOG which is operated by an IFE-equipped A320 but they still carry out the safety demonstration manually. The movie selection isn't as much as what they offer now as well.
We're rolling down the taxiway for sure
Everbody is seated and silently waiting for take-off
More coverage on the taxiing process. Surabaya-Juanda has only 1 runway which is 3,000 metres in length. Wide-body aircrafts come and go to Surabaya on a daily basis, such as Cathay Pacific with their A330's and 772's, China Airlines with their 77W's and occasionally, GA with their A330-200's. Saudia also deploys B747-400's that are operated by Air Atlanta Icelandic.
Take-off is cleared, and we're running
Flying eastwards to the coast before making a sharp turn westwards heading to Jakarta
Obviously it is all cloudy and gloomy here over East Java. On a bright day I should be able to notice prominent natural landmarks on the ground but I guess the weather's not permitting me to do that right now…
More cloudy formations over the Java Sea
You know you're in an Indonesian aircraft when there are no rows 13 and 14. 13 is a western superstition while anything that contains the number 4 is some kind of bad omen for the Chinese-Indonesian community. We do have a lot of superstitions.
However, heading west it seems the weather is getting better, as well as the visibility
My flight companion today and my favourite out of all X-Men movie series distributed by 20th Century Fox
Meal distribution is commencing
Very simple indeed but judging by the departure time of the flight a hot meal would be in the inappropriate time to be served. Today's meal is just a single piece of bread with red bean filling.
Good amount of red bean filling and is of good taste!
Some halfway into the flight
People are waiting for the FA's to recollect the waste after finishing their meal
The skies are clearer here in West Java
With this announcement, the captain has informed that the flight will shortly come to an end and that the aircraft has left the cruising altitude for the descent into HLP
The cabin crew personnel are making their way back and forth the cabin making sure the passengers are donning their safety belts, their tray tables stowed, and their cabin luggage are placed in the correct place
The fertile land east of Jakarta is notorious for their vast paddy fields and is the nationwide hub for rice production. Must be above Karawang or Bekasi Regency
And the more we close into HLP, the panorama shifts from lush, green paddy fields towards dense residential, industrial, and commercial areas
We are already on our approach into HLP and there are no signs of making any holding pattern. You can see with a residential pattern this dense, East Jakarta easily makes it as the most populous subdivision of the capital.
Our final approach
Touchdown!! You can see that a lot of other ID aircrafts are lining up for take-off
A very short taxi into the parking stand..
We are parked right next to PK-GQH, a 3-year old Citilink A320-200 with sharklets which just also arrived from Surabaya as QG182 and is on a short turnaround at HLP before going back to Surabaya as QG183
Disembarking process was seamless and is completed in no time at all
The business class cabin with those enormous IFE screens
Compulsory stair to wing view upon exiting
Thank you, Lima-Apha-Hotel
This one's Lima-Uniform-Sierra, and she's getting ready to depart as ID7059 to Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport in Palembang, South Sumatera which is a 50-minute flight away.
While this is PK-TNG, a 9-year old ATR42-500 owned by TransNusa Airlines which provides chartered aircrafts to companies operating in remote areas that need speedy transportation for the mobility purposes of their workforce
The alighting passengers are directed towards the arrival hall
A slight turn.
And you will see this sign. I don't really get what "The Legend Airport" means but it is what it is
This is a picture of the person who the airport is named after
Walking the very short hallway that leads us to..
..the baggage claim area.
Having no checked baggage I exit immediately and head into the parking lot where my driver is already waiting for me. That concludes this trip report.
Surabaya - SUB
Jakarta - HLP
Batik Air is becoming a favourite of many because of what it has to offer, the price tag, and their extensive coverage to many domestic destinations in Indonesia. Combine that with their daily service from HLP, is has became a favourite among the busier businessmen which require a quick transfer to an airport, close by to downtown, and with no hassle at all will get them flying in no time at all to over 20 cities in the archipelago. Keep up the good service, and I'm really looking forward to other trips from and to HLP!
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