Hello! Thanks for reading and caring to stop by this review. This time, I'll be doing a review on Indonesia AirAsia (QZ) which I trusted to be my travelling partner for my short return trip to Singapore for the 2018 Singapore Airshow. This is my 2nd time visiting the biennial event. As some of you might have already known, I was born and originally from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia but as I'm a 2nd soon to be 3rd-year university student in Bandung, and the airshow happens to fall on a date where it's a normal weekend, I thought of doing the trip directly from Bandung. Even though you have fewer options and sometimes it could be a bit costly rather from departing from Jakarta but at least you won't need to hustle through the ever-congested Jakarta-Bandung expressway or booking a return train ticket. Plus, a trip out of Bandung's infamous Husein Sastranegara Intl. Airport (WICC/BDO) is worth doing because this'll be my first time departing from the airport!
About the airport, this has been the airport the city of Bandung always relies on all these times. The Dutch administration built an airstrip in a village that would become the district of Andir in Bandung now. The airstrip survived through phases of development within the city of Bandung, from a 19th-century hill station to escape the heat in Batavia, to a bustling metropolitan of 2.5 million people. Bandung has developed so much that the airport that was once seemed to be located in the outskirts of the city, now it seems like that the city centre is so close to the airport. Yes, Bandung's Town Hall is located 2.4 kilometres from the airport. Yep, you haven't heard me wrong. The only thing that inhibits people from getting there easy is the occasional bad traffic. On a typical early morning with minimal traffic, getting there would be a breeze because of the very short distance from the city centre. This explains the runway, being only 2,250 metres in length. Another unique thing about the airport is the approach. No matter where the flight is from, the only descent path available is from the east since Bandung is a big basin in a plateau surrounded by volcanoes rising up to 2,200 metres. You will see that in the review of the return flight.
The airport went years of stagnant condition without any improvement before the incumbent Mayor of Bandung, Mr. Ridwan Kamil, S.T. decided to enlarge the termimal buildings, expanding the capacity of passenger movements handled from the initial 750,000 to 3.5 million passengers a year. Well that's a relief, but rather a late one. I have no idea why they decided to expand it back in 2015 just for the central government to build a big international airport in Kertajati, Majalengka Regency which is 68 kilometres northeast of Bandung. The airport is currently on 96% progress and is on its finishing phase. The airport will be called BIJB (Bandara Internasional Jawa Barat) or literally translated as West Java International Airport. It will feature a big terminal building, with phase I projected capacity of 11 million passenger movements/year and a 3,000x60-metre runway. Soft opening is projected to be on May 24th, 2018 which is in a few days from now. The IATA code will be KJT and the ICAO code will be WICA. The airport's acquired land also has been made to suit the long-term master plan of constructing 3 runways including one over 4,000 metres capable of handling the A380. The construction of an airport this big is hoped to ease congestion of the traffic at CGK because of the location, it is strategically located in the crossroads of many main cities like Cirebon, Majalengka, Indramayu, and even the western part of neighbouring Central Java province like Tegal and Brebes. Hope this goes out well.
Carrier: Indonesia AirAsia (QZ/AWQ)
Flight Number: QZ365 Origin Airport: Husein Sastranegara International Airport - Bandung, Indonesia (IATA: BDO/ICAO: WICC) Destination Airport: Changi International Airport - Singapore (IATA: SIN/ICAO: WSSS), Terminal 4 Flying distance: 995 kilometres
Departure time information are given in Western Indonesian Time (UTC+07.00) Standard Time of Departure: 0840 hrs Actual Time of Departure: 0834 hrs Departure time information are given in Singapore Standard Time (UTC+08.00) Standard Time of Arrival: 1120 hrs Actual Time of Arrival: 1102 hrs
Aircraft Registration Number: PK-AXX (MSN 5215) Aircraft Type: Airbus A320-216 Aircraft Age: 5 years (delivered June 2012)
I arrived around 06.15 in the morning. It took no time at all until I figured out that I was too early.
Since the available space of limited, the airport only retains a linear geometry with the departures and arrivals are actually merged into one long strip of hallway. But it has improved so much so I guess that's fine. I like smaller airports because it takes a short time to navigate the whole airport and it's just very efficient and convenient to get around quickly. The international departure gates and security screening are located at the very west end of the long, linear corridor.
Signages are bilingual in Indonesian and English, but what gets interesting is that the boarding calls and other announcements are made in an extra language: Sundanese. Bandung and West Java is inhabited traditionally by the Sundanese people, one of the major ethnic groups in Indonesia. They speak the Sundanese language. So a typical Bandung-native family usually speaks Sundanese at home while also being able to communicate in Indonesian in more formal occasions, sometimes English is also spoken by the more educated. It is spoken by around 40 million people.
This is a infographic about Husein Sastranegara, he is in the group of one of the earliest Indonesian aviators and has this airport named after his.
Indonesia will be the host for the 2018 Asian Games, so the committee are setting up the vibes in preparation for the event
I'll come right through that gate on the next review!
This is how the long semi-open air corridor looks like, as viewed towards the domestic departure areas
Right onto the international departures we go!
Lining up for security check
And this is the view you get once you've passed the screening, notice the blue semi-opaque glass doors
The hall that contains the check-in counters for all airlines is really only this big. I think this pictures really depicts how compact and packed this airport is.
Check-in/baggage drop counters for today's flight. I have one checked baggage for today.
They're doing a good job in graphic design and how to present the airport directory in a good and effective way!
Oops, looks like somebody forgot to display their content on the giant FIDS
All of these 3 means of people movement leads to the compact immigration counters
And if you've passed the immigration clearances you will find a big glass window that offers decent spotting opportunities. It's going to be a bright day with some cloud cover today in Bandung.
This Supergreen flight is typically the earliest arrival on any given day here at BDO. A short 1-hour flight from Surabaya Juanda Intl. Airport (WARR/SUB)
This is the start of the long corridor of gates where there are some seats by the window on the left side while the right side is designated commercial areas with some convenience stores and some dining options
This is the eastern end of the apron
Past this narrow opening is some more shops and there are some newly constructed waiting areas and a gate as well.
The lounging area with some comfy seats to cater the needs of the travellers
Restroom time! You can notice that on the doors of the seated lavatory cubicles there are some inscriptions with some unique characters. Those are Sundanese proverbs and words of wisdom, inscripted in Sundanese letters (or alphabets). Among all of the places I've been to in Indonesia no other airport offers the same experience. It's good actually because it's a sort of approach to the visitors towards Sundanese culture that the city of Bandung and the whole of West Java embraces.
You also get a lot of infographics regarding the recent development of the airport. In CGK you can see the same thing if you arrive by Railink Airport Train from Sudirman Baru station, the connecting hall between the train station and the APMS/Skytrain station to T1-T2-T3 also has the equivalent infographics related to the development and expansion plans of the airport.
Southern end of the separated departure concourse
Ops going on for this little fella
Turns out that little fella is PK-WHR, an ATR72-600 of Wings Air is taxiing to the runway for its short hop to Bandar Lampung's Radin Inten II Intl. Airport (WILL/TKG)
And that's my ride arriving! PK-AXX for today. She's just finishing her day-opening service this morning QZ7913 from Denpasar-Bali Ngurah Rai Intl. Airport (WADD/DPS)
The perks of departing from a typically low-traffic airport is that punctuality here is much better than CGK. Boarding is very punctual. Like any particular AirAsia flight, early boarding priority is given to those who've booked the hot seats which is the few rows at the front and the emergency rows because they offer extra legroom.
During the boarding and disembarking process, AirAsia Indonesia, in this case always gives us a friendly reminder to board and disembark quickly and efficiently as their airplanes maintain a very high pace of aircraft rotation and layover process. The boarding experience is somewhat similar to boarding in JOG due to the small layout of the airport and no airbridges available. The furthest gate is also still very close, so the same thing like in JOG, no buses or any means of transport whatsoever. But being directly on the apron and interacting directly with those majestic birds of steel isn't a bad thing anyway right?
That JOG-like feel
The terminal building as viewed from the apron
My aircraft is parked next to its Malaysian counterpart, a 3-year old A320-200 registered as 9M-AJT which also just checked in earlier this morning in Bandung after an early morning from Kuala Lumpur Intl. Airport (WMKK/KUL) as AK416 and is also undergoing boarding process to return to KUL as AK417. The flight is scheduled to be departing 10 minutes earlier than mine, at 0830.
The first 15 rows can board from the front doors while the last 15 kan board from the aft doors
CFM International CFM56 engines
Compulsory pre-boarding shoot
Papa Kilo-Alpha X-Ray X-Ray
Seated at 7A for today's flight
Well, no one should ever expect much for a low-cost carrier with a good value for money
A short, compact yet effective and informative safety cards. Sorry the camera won't cooperate with me for this pic.
Boarding process was very quick and efficient and the doors are closed in no time at all
Service vehicles and ground staff are backing off and we're ready to commence pushback
Turns out that there are no pushbacks in BDO, instead we have a "pushfront" instead. The aircrafts move forward immediately from their parking spot to head to the taxiway. Another unique thing is that we're departing ahead of the AK flight to KUL while they're the ones that's supposed to be ahead of us.
Very short taxi into runway 11/29
Entering the runway
Clear for take-off!
We have lift-off!
A bright day with some cloud scatter here in the southwestern part of Bandung City. You can see the chain of mountains that surrounds the city. The right ones are very close to the city. While in the background there are also other mountains, to the south of the city. Those mountains south of the city holds a lot volcanoes and is gives an economic boost to the region through tourism, such as Ciwidey (The White Crater) in Patuha Mountain and Lake Patenggang which is a defunct crater that evolved into a lake during the geological process. Agriculture also holds a very important role in shaping the economy from plantations (tea, coffee, fruit, and vegetables). The volcanic south also holds abundant electricity potential through geothermal energy.
The flat part of the Western Bandung region, apart from residential area is also utilized for dense industrial complexes, such as depicted below. Western Bandung and Cimahi holds a lot of industrial complexes mainly of the textile and packaged food industry.
Passing through layers of cloud
More of the plateau outside the City of Bandung
AirAsia's service includes a meal (if you have pre-booked it, obviously), or if you opt to buy it directly from the carts, but of course the price will be higher than the pre-booked ones. AirAsia offers a lot in terms of dining option and as with the beverages as well. As this flight is operated by Indonesia AirAsia, the transaction will accept foreign currencies, especially Southeast Asian currencies but will give change in Indonesian Rupiahs (IDR).
Passing just west of Singkep Island, a part of the Riau Islands archipelagic province which is SIngapore's closest Indonesian neighbouring province.
A nice view of the Southeastern Coastline of Singapore. Aligns with the ECP (East Coast Parkway) that connects the Singapore main city centre to Changi Airport.
Seconds before touchdown
Nice and well-executed landing! Despite being a low-cost airliner, Indonesia AirAsia has a "indigenous" reputation of always being able to pull out good landings. Say hello to Air China's B789 that is bound for Beijing!
This one's bound for a very-very long flight. It's either SFO or LAX. 17+ hour flight. You can see the architecture of the T4 building from the outside. The exterior is nothing flashy but it's totally different on the inside.
This is a very short taxi. One of the shortest I've experienced in fact. The aircraft landed on runway 02R and made an immediate exit to the west, entering T4 where it is already right on the west side of the runway.
Parked on the southern end of the T4 building
Disembarking the aircraft
Walking up the jetbridge
Welcome to Changi Airport T4
Well, the tone and architectural aspects match the ones in the other terminals but I don't get it, it has a fresher look this particular hallway is very sun-kissed. The sun light plays a huge part in the lighting system. I like that.
Squeaky clean toilet
Walking my way towards the immigration
I'm sorry, my hands and my camera won't cooperate again this time…
Baggage claim area
Let's just take a moment to appreciate the architecure, shall we?
This concludes the review! Thanks a lot for sparing some time to read and I apologize for the really bad quality of pictures during the end. I know that I'm a really bad photographer but I'll try to do my best in the upcoming reviews. A more detailed look of the Changi T4 will be given in the review of the inbound sector which is currently I'm working on.
Bandung-Java Island - BDO
Singapore - SIN
QZ really offers a good value for money. They give out reasonably-priced add-ons compared to other LCC's and it's something definitely worth trying. The connectivity and integration with the rest of the AirAsia network also gives us a very good coverage throughout Southeast Asia. QZ itself also operates to some other international destinations like Malaysia (CGK-KUL, DPS-KUL, BDO-KUL, JOG-KUL, and some other routes) and Australia (DPS-PER). Bandung's Husein Sastranegara departure area also does pretty well in terms of availability of amenities, compared to some other major international airports. Small but efficient. But there is an issue with the connectivity and access to the airport, due to Bandung's bad public transport system.
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