Good news for Wamena in Papua! There will be more developments to come. The Wamena airport will have longer runway to accommodate safer and more convenient flights.
The Minister of Transportation, Budi Karya Sumadi, conveyed that his department has received recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) regarding Wamena Airport in Papua. They suggest on developing longer runway for safer flights. From its current 2,175 meters runway, Wamena airport would be extended up to 2,500 meters.
Besides getting some recommendations from KNKT, the Ministry of Transportation also consulted the Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) and Air Nav. Wamena airport indeed could use some revamping, considering that Wamena airport has some challenging conditions for airplane landing. Located at 5,100 feat where the air is thin, this condition makes airplanes move very fast during landing. Hence, it’s prone to accidents. Especially when big airplanes such as cargo airplanes and Boeing frequently land on Wamena airport.
KNKT also recommended moving BMKG’s equipment which blocked the officer’s view. The airlines must also strictly obey the procedures. Furthermore, KNKT will also develop Performance Based Navigation for Wamena airport. This is a digital map which enables the pilots to have the correct guidelines when making decisions during landing.
Other developments being discussed for Wamena airport is the improvements of its Air Traffic Controller (ATC). ATC is essential for an airport. It functions to keep airplanes at a safe distance, in order to move aircraft efficiently and safely, whether within each sector of airspace or on the ground.
Furthermore, Minister Budi Karya confirmed that developments to extend the runway in Wamena airport can be carried out next year. While improvements for ATC can be carried out immediately.
Wamena airport has become one of the busiest airport in Papua. The capital city of Jayawijaya district is rapidly growing and the activities in the airport is getting crowded. It has become the second busiest airport after Sentani Airport in Jayapura (the capital city of Papua Province). Tens of flight activities happen daily in this airport. It is such a normal condition considering that Wamena has become the gateway for several districts in Pegunungan Tengah (central mountains) region, such as Tolikara, Lanny Jaya, Yalimo, Central Memberamo, Nduga, Puncak Jaya dan Jayawijaya.
The are also plans from the local governments to improve Wamena airport to be able to accommodate big sized airplanes, in the most ideal condition. The District Government of Jayawijaya will also allocate budget for the addition of 100 meters runway development. This development is apart from the development by the Ministry of Transportation. The funds will be allocated this year. Therefore, this addition will also enable Wamena airport to have direct flights. Access to Wamena will not have to go from Sentani airport in Jayapura for transit.
These developments are expected to accommodate and encourage the growing economy of Wamena as the biggest and only city in Pegunungan Tengah region of Papua. With its beautiful virgin nature and fresh air, Wamena has all the potentials to be the next tourist destination in Papua besides Raja Ampat. Currently, Wamena is already known to domestic and foreign tourists. Especially during cultural festival in Wosilimo. Moreover, like all Pegunungan Tengah region in Papua, the development will grow in accordance with the airport developments. Hopefully the developments in Wamena airport will bring more growth and benefits in Wamena.