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New Indonesian airport to test limits of regional development

Private-sector role unclear despite $23bn funding gap

The Kertajati airport in West Java, slated to open in mid-June, was "90% done" as of late February. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

MAJALENGKA, Indonesia -- Rice fields and a large population of sheep used to be the main features of this remote part of West Java, about 180km east of central Jakarta. Now, a large international airport is seeking to turn the region into an economic hub by luring businesses from the industrial areas near the capital.

The Kertajati International Airport is racing to open its doors before the Idul Fitri holiday mid-June, when millions of Indonesians return to their hometowns to mark the end of Ramadan. The deadline appears extremely tight -- when the Nikkei Asian Review reporters visited the site on Feb. 28, the exteriors of the terminal, with designs resembling feathers of a peacock, as well as a nearby access road, were still being built.

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