If we look at the map, Fakfak lies in the area of the Bird’s Head of Papua. Nestled in the southern part of West Papua Province, this region has varying geographic conditions. Its relatively hilly landscapes pose different challenges to infrastructure development efforts.
Fakfak itself is a small town on the western tip of Bomerai Peninsula. You can reach this place by sea travel. It takes about an hour from the harbor to get to the peak of the town. Or, you can fly and arrive at the existing Torea Airport.
The government also has set a plan to build another new airport in this area. It’s following the government’s agendas to accelerate development in many remote easternmost regions of Papua land.
Before talking about the air infrastructure development in Fakfak, let’s get more acquaintance with one of the hidden gems of West Papua.
Fakfak – A Town on Top of The Cliff
If you go to Fakfak by air travel, you will have the blessing to see the small town from above. Approaching the destination, the relatively low flying airplane presents us the view of the seas, beaches, islands, twists and turns of rivers, bays, and the peninsula.
It takes about 15 minutes of drive from the Torea Airport to the Fakfak town center. Due to its hilly and rocky land contours, the crest of the town earns a Rocky Town (Kota Batu) nickname. Fakfak town center sits on a bay facing westward and surrounded by hills.
From the hilltop surrounding the town, you will see the entire city and the sea in front of it. The typical view is the winding uphill and downhill roads lead to the town’s buildings that seem to stick to the hill walls. You can also spot increasing infrastructure development achievements there.
Fakfak – A Town of Various Nicknames
We already know one of Fakfak nicknames, Kota Batu. As a regency, Fakfak is also famous for its other monikers. People refer to it as the Old Town, the City of History and Struggle, the City of Governance, and even the Pala City (the City of Nutmeg).
The most known one is Fakfak as the Old Town as its existence in the classic book of Negara Kertagama of Majapahit Kingdom (1365 AD). It mentioned three regional names of Wwanin, Sran, and Timur, situated in the easternmost of Indonesia.
According to the experts of Ancient Javanese, Wwanin is another name of the Onin Region (Jazirah Onin) in Fakfak. Dubbed as the oldest regency in Papua land, Fakfak has witnessed significant infrastructure development endeavors.
Air Transport Infrastructure Development
Fakfak Regency lies between several other regencies, such as Kaimana Regency, Teluk Bintuni Regency, and Sorong Regency. Fakfak town is its administrative center for smaller districts (kecamatan) and villages (kelurahan/desa).
Regarding the air travel infrastructure development, Fakfak has a strategical location since it has a hub with Ambon City. It is comparatively shorter than other regions on the Papua island.
Moreover, the central government, through the Ministry of Transportation, still keeps the commitment to the development of two air terminals in Fakfak. It will be the expansion of existing Torea Airport and the ongoing project of the new Kampung Siboru Airport.
Also known as Fakfak Airport, Torea Airport serves Fakfak regency of West Papua province. Resided on 462 feet (141 m) above mean sea level, this airport has one runway of asphalt surface in 1,200 m x 30 m (3,937 ft × 98 ft). It also has an apron infrastructure of 70 m x 120 m and 19 m of a taxiway.
Several airlines like Wings Air, Nam Air, and Express Air serve flights to and from Fakfak. They fly to some destinations like Sorong, Kaimana, Manokwari, Nabire, and also Ambon.
The need for infrastructure development requires the expansion of this airport. Of the 1.200-meter runway, only 900 m that is effective in use. It is due to tall trees that become the obstacles across the runway. Not to mention, there are chasms at both ends and one side of the runway.
Such obstacles have made the aviation safety aspects are at stake. Therefore, there is a proposal for 2020 State Budget to include the expansion of the runway for an additional 20 meters.
The Fakfak Regency Government has granted a 700,000 m2 land to be used as the site to build a new airport in this region. The precise location is in Kampung Siboru, Wartutin District of Fakfak Regency.
The plan is to have a runway of 1,500 m in length and 150 m in width as the first stage. The final runway expansion is 2,100 m long and 150 m wide.
New airport infrastructure development in Siboru intends to build a knot of transportation networks, create economic gateways, and support economic and trade activities in West Papua.