According to Global Anti-aerotropolis Movement (GAAM) : Plans for a major airport in Majalengka, on an enormous 5,000 hectare site in a predominantly rural administrative area in the West Java province, first surfaced in 2004. Kertajati International Airport is located around 68 kilometers east of Bandung (A touristic area). The intervening twelve years have been marked by vigorous resistance against displacement for the project, now named Kertajati Airport and also referred to as Bandara Internasional Jawa Barat (BIJB)[5,6,7].
The developer of Kertajati Airport is PT. Bandarudara Internasional Jawa Barat (BIJB), referred to in English as West Java Airport and Aerocity Development Company.
According to GAAM, this airport is being constructed to spur commercial and industrial development on the farmland surrounding the airport. Plans have been outlined for Kertajati Airport to become a gateway to West Java ; the airport and Aerocity would be an economic centre for the region, with direct access to the established Karawang industrial zone. Kertajati Airport is just one of 84 large scale infrastructure projects planned in West Java, including power plants, ports and roads [14, 6]. Moreover, it seems that there is a military component. Indonesia’s state owned aerospace manufacturer, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), a firm servicing both civilian and military aircraft, has intented to relocate from its current location in Bandung to a larger 300 hectare site on the land surrounding Kertajati Airport . And the aerotropolis scheme has spawned a plan for yet another megaproject; a power plant . This 190 hectare energy complex is planned for the aerotropolis to meet its own energy requirements, as the electricity supply currently under construction will only be sufficient to supply the airport, not the Aerocity .
Ten villages in the Kertajati sub-district have been wiped from the map for the airport and aerotropolis. But Sukamulya village remains, and residents are determined to avoid the fate of displaced people from neighbouring villages that have been obliterated, who were given inadequate compensation for loss of their homes and farmland [5,6].
The Front Perjuangan Rakyat Sukamulya (FPRS), which translates as the Sukamulya People's Struggle Front, was formed to resist eviction for the airport and is supported by Indonesian land rights and agrarian reform NGO Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA). KPA maintains that the chiefs of the 11 affected villages unilaterally supported the airport project, against the will of the majority of residents who rejected the plan [5,6].
On 8th June 2007 hundreds of people protested against the threat of eviction facing at least 16,000 people from five villages . Speeches were followed by a mock trial of the Majalengka Regent, the head of the Regency. Protesters objected to lack of information about the airport project, including how much compensation they would receive from the government, and refused to be relocated .
In 2016, as shown in a video by FPRS , hundreds of people were participating in protests in and women were playing a leading role. Road entrances to the village were being monitored day and night and blocked with tyres, preventing officials accessing land in order to measure it for the airport. A protest camp with a communal kitchen, using food harvested in Sukamulya and donated by villagers, helped maintain high spirits .
Two of the major protests were on 25th of January and 22th of February 2016 [9,10]. Hundreds of residents and their supporters rallied in front of the Majelengka land office and State Attorney office, arriving for the march in a procession of motorbikes and trucks carrying banners and posters. Rousing speeches voiced residents’ opposition to the construction of Kertajati Airport and the land acquisition process, protesting that it was not being conducted according to regulations. Villagers vowed that they would remain in Sukamulya.
On 1st March 2016 the International Land Coalition (ILC) reported that 10 villages were evicted from their lands to make way for the new International Airport .
Local people have exposed intimidation and harassment by officials and state repression and brutality. One of the worst violent events occurred on 18th November 2014 . Without warning, hundreds of officials, surveyors escorted by armed police, arrived to measure land in the villages of Sukamulya and Sukakerta. Hundreds of residents attempted to block officials from entering the village area and police responded with violence, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. At least five people were detained and many citizens were injured from being trampled on and dragged along the road. Some people were beaten (the description of this conflict was taken from: Aviation Expansion in Indonesia. GAAM [1, 6])
According to the last news from BIJB website: "The construction of West Java International Airport Kertajati in Majalengka, West Java, is expected to be completed and can be operated by 2018".