The Transportation Ministry inked a deal on Monday with the Tambrauw regency administration to develop an inactive remote airport in Werur, West Papua, in a bid to improve connectivity with the country’s east.
During the signing ceremony, the ministry’s acting director general for air transportation, Santoso Edy Wibowo, said the initial investment needed to build the airport amounted to Rp 39 billion (US$3.25 million), Rp 30 billion of which would come from the 2015 state budget and the other Rp 9 billion from the regional administration’s budget.
“For the initial stage, we will allocate Rp 30 billion from the 2015 state budget to build the airside facilities, such as runway, taxiway and apron,” Santoso said on the sidelines of the signing ceremony at his office.
“We’re planning to start the construction next year, after the regency completes the land-acquisition process. The construction will take up to three years to be completed,” he continued.
The airport, built by the Allied Forces during World War II, already has an inactive 3-kilometer runway.
The ministry would initially build the airport to accommodate Twin Otter aircraft, Santoso said.
According to him, the airport is crucial to help narrow the wide economic gap between the western and eastern parts of the archipelago.
“Airports are a supporting factor in boosting trade and industry,” he said. “Therefore, we hope that we can accelerate the development of the airport following this agreement.”
Separately, Tambrauw Regent Gabriel Asem said the regional administration would allocate a total of Rp 9 billion, which comprised Rp 6 billion to build the airport’s landside facilities and another Rp 3 billion to acquire the land needed to develop the airport.
“The construction of this airport is very crucial to developing potential tourism in the area,” Gabriel said.
“Aside from its proximity to Raja Ampat, Tambrauw is a hatching site for leatherback sea turtles [Dermochelys coriacea],” Gabriel said.
Tambrauw is a relatively new regency that was established in 2008 after it was separated from its parent regency, Sorong.
“We hope that by the time the airport is fully developed, it can be used as an alternative to Sorong Airport for tourists who wish to travel to Raja Ampat,” he said.
The Transportation Ministry is planning to build five new airports and revitalize 51 existing airports in 2015.
The ministry will allocate a total of Rp 6.25 trillion for the air transportation directorate general next year from a total of Rp 44.6 trillion allocated for the ministry, as stated in the proposed 2015 state budget.