The challenging transportation in Papua has been a common knowledge among many people. The difficult geographic conditions with the mountainous characteristics and dense jungles have been the main reasons why access in Papua is very difficult. Therefore, air transportation has become the only option to access some areas in Papua.
In developing the Eastern Indonesia, the government of Indonesia has made infrastructure development as the priority. With infrastructure, the developments planned by the government would have a lot of boost. Starting from the easier access to goods distribution, cheaper process, more access to services and over all a smoother development process.
The air transportation in Papua has indeed become the backbone of development in Papua. Especially with almost 80% of its geographic condition consist of mountains with the height of in average 500 to 5,000 meters above the sea level.
Sea toll has become the first priority for infrastructure development in Papua. The next priority is the development programs for air transportation in Papua called the sky bridge. This program is the continuation in synergy with the sea toll program in opening access in Papua.
The sky bridge program is the government’s plan to improve access through air transportation in Papua. This plan aims to improve the transportation in Papua, mainly in remote places, by air connectivity. Through this program, the distribution of goods that cannot be done through sea toll, such as the mountain areas, will be distributed through airplane. The program also refers to the pioneer planes of the National Air Forces which can penetrate even the most remote inland in Papua. .
Currently, there’s an on going development of 34 airports in isolated areas of Papua. These airports are in line with the plan to improve air transportation in Papua.
The Airport Director of the Ministry of Transportation, Yudhi Sari explained that these developments are included in the national airport layout. The development of 34 airports to improve air transportation in Papua are Mopah, Kamur, Kimam, Bomakia, Manggelum, Wamena, Kiwirok, Bilorai, Akimuga, Enarotali, Sarmi, Tanah Merah, Mulia, Oksibil, Moanamani, Mindiptanah, Kepi, Kokonao, Okaba, Illu, Ewer, Batom, Bade, Karubaga, Obano, Timika, Waghete, Nabire, Dekai, Rendani, Bintuni, Kaimana, Babo.
Out of the 34 airports, as much as 10 airports would be built in the border area, which are Sentani, Mopah, Manggelum, Enarotali, Sarmi, Tanah Merah, Oksibil, Okaba, Karubaga, Kebar. There will also a new airport in Korowai that is planned to be inaugurated by President Joko Widodo.
The concept was also brought up by the Minister of transportation, Ignasius Jonan. He explained Papua still has area that are very difficult to access such as Yahukimo, Nduga, Wamena. Moreover, there are still areas in Papua which has no land or port transportation infrastructures.
The limited access has made logistics very hard to manage. Hence, the price of goods become very expensive. The sky bridge program is the solution for these challenges. Through scheduled flights with subsidized air transportation in Papua, the price of goods would decrease and the economy would develop by default. Therefore, the airport development in isolated areas in Papua would support the economic boost and the equal distribution of economic welfare.