Challenges and Effort in Building a West Papua Airport

West Papua
Sumber : Jubi

Indonesia has a sizable territory, and West Papua is located on its outer side. Because of the country’s archipelago structure, reaching its outer regions is difficult. Thus, building airport infrastructure becomes a top priority. The effort is not without an issue, though. Some challenges may make development harder.

West Papua
Sumber : Jakarta Globe

The Importance of Building Airports in the Region

Transportation is the main concern for the welfare distribution in any country, particularly a country as big as Indonesia. The government’s development plan for airport infrastructure in Papua is not without reason. There are some implications that the community will get from airport establishment:

  • Access to better healthcare for the local community.
  • More stable prices for essential commodities.
  • Job opportunities for people who live around the airport area.
  • Improved tourism sector.
  • Better chance to promote the culture of West Papua.
  • Access to better education for its people.

Those points show how beneficial airport development is for the people’s welfare. The impact will occur across sectors. Moreover, these impacts do not only apply in a short-term period. It will be a long-term investment for the well-being of Papua people in many aspects.

Main Challenges of Building Airport Infrastructure

The commitment of central and local government bodies to develop airports in the region is faced with certain issues. At times, these issues will slightly slow down the process of building the infrastructure. Here are some common issues that happen across the region:

1. Land Acquisition

This process’s issue is not related to the community as the local community mostly supports the government’s program. However, the legal process of land acquisition may take a long time to finish. The amount of land to acquire is also vast, which may prolong the time.

2. The Contour of the Land

Another issue that the government encounters in developing airports is the land contour of West Papua. An airport needs to be built on a flat plane. However, the land in the region tends to be contoured. The process of preparing the land to build an airport requires time and a large fund.

3. Future Plans for Land Displacement

To create and expand an airport, the government needs to displace the community that lives in the area. It requires thorough planning, which might not be done shortly. The government needs to make sure that the displaced community would still prosper in their new place.

4. The Unpredictable Weather

This challenge is related to air travel safety. The weather in Papua may change quickly, that it requires trained pilots and sophisticated aircrafts to travel across the region. This situation may also cause irregularity in flight schedules. These two factors are related to airport development.

5. International Standard for Safe Air Transportation

The government also faces a challenge in building an airport that adheres to the international standard of aviation. It should be able to accommodate airplanes going in and out of the runway safely. The planning for this may take months and years.

The Current Effort to Develop Airport in Western Side of Papua

Currently, there is an effort to map the region to find new spots for airports. The island still has many unexplored lands, which are the potential to be developed into airports. The government takes into account the economic, social, and cultural impacts of this development program.

In addition to looking for spots for new airports, the government of West Papua also exerts its efforts to develop the established ones. The following list shows the current efforts of developing those established airports:

  • Extending the runway of main airports such as Rendani and Raja Ampat to improve their class.
  • Renovating the building to increase passenger’s comfort.
  • Adding essential facilities, such as health facility.
  • Improving access to the airport.

Despite the challenges, there is a realization about the importance of airport development in West Papua. It is a big investment, not only monetary but also time and energy. However, considering its future benefits, it is a hard effort the government is willing to make.