The Story of Kemayoran: Indonesia’s First International Airport That Ceased Operations

The Story of Kemayoran Indonesia’s First International Airport That Ceased Operations

javaprivatetour.com – Ever wondered about the early days of aviation in Indonesia? Today, we’re diving into the fascinating history of Kemayoran Airport, the nation’s first international airport, which holds a treasure trove of stories from its operational days between 1940 and 1985.

The Birth of Kemayoran Airport

Located on Jalan Benyamin Sueb in Central Jakarta, Kemayoran Airport was established by the Dutch colonial government in 1934. It officially opened its doors in 1940, marking the beginning of its role as a gateway for international flights long before Soekarno-Hatta and Ngurah Rai Airports were even conceptualized.

Kemayoran was initially managed by the Koninklijke Nederlands Indische Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KNILM). The first aircraft to land on its tarmac was a DC-3 from the same Dutch airline. This was a time when aviation was still in its infancy, and Kemayoran became a pivotal point in connecting Indonesia to the rest of the world.

The Birth of Kemayoran Airport

The Golden Era and First Airshow

The airport’s heyday saw the hustle and bustle of international and domestic flights. One of the most notable events was the airshow on August 31, 1940, in honor of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The airshow was a spectacle featuring planes from KNILM and private Aeroclub planes from Batavia, such as the Buckmeister Bu-131, Jungmann, de Haviland DH-82 Tigermoth, Piper Cub, and Walraven W-2.

World War II and Aftermath

Kemayoran’s strategic importance meant it was not spared during World War II. On February 9, 1942, Japanese aircraft launched attacks on the airport, forcing several KNILM planes to seek refuge in Australia. During the Japanese occupation (1942-1945), the airport served as a parking ground for Japanese aircraft. After Japan’s surrender, Allied and Dutch planes returned, resuming operations at Kemayoran.

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Post-Independence Glory

Following Indonesia’s independence, Kemayoran saw a resurgence in activity, becoming a hub for Garuda Indonesia and welcoming flights from across the globe. The 1970s brought about significant changes due to increased air traffic. On January 10, 1974, the government opened Halim Perdanakusuma Airport to alleviate some of the congestion.

Kemayoran Airport Latest Condition

The Final Flight

Kemayoran’s peak came in the 1980s, with over 100,000 flights annually and a passenger capacity reaching four million. However, the rising frequency of flights led to its closure on March 31, 1985. The government then focused on developing a more extensive and modern facility—Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten.

Today, the former Kemayoran Airport grounds have transformed into the Jakarta Fairground (Pekan Raya Jakarta) and the Kotabaru Kemayoran residential area, a reminder of its historical significance.

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If you’re a first-time visitor to Java or a seasoned traveler looking to explore Indonesia’s rich history, Java Private Tour is your go-to travel companion. Here’s why:

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