History of Sentani Airport: The Etymology of Dortheys Hiyo Eluay

History of Sentani Airport: The Etymology of Dortheys Hiyo Eluay

History of Sentani Airport—Sentani International Airport, also known as Dortheys Hiyo Eluay International Airport (IATA: DJJ, ICAO: WAJJ), is an airport serving Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, Indonesia, on the island of New Guinea. Its Indonesian name is Bandar Udara Internasional Sentani.

History of Sentani Airport: The Etymology of Dortheys Hiyo Eluay
Source: unsplash.com/photos/EzTGFKfEdmM

It lies in the Sentani District, a town that takes its name from a neighboring lake. It stands around 40 kilometers from the heart of Jayapura. The largest airport on the island of New Guinea is also the most eastern airport in Indonesia. PT Angkasa Pura, I assumed control of the airport’s management on October 14, 2019. (Persero).

History of Sentani Airport

On April 22, 1944, an American amphibious task force code-named Operation Reckless seized Sentani Airport from the Japanese during World War II.

Furthermore, Japanese forces took control of the region in April 1942. By October 10, 1943, they had constructed a sizable complex with two runways. A western runway measuring 4,500 feet and a second southern runway measuring 6,200 feet x 340 feet. Furthermore, taxiways led to the two runways that connected 24 larger bomber refueling areas to the west of the strip. Additional to 27 to the east of the field. 

The History of Sentani Airport stated that four light guns were later upgraded as anti-aircraft defenses. American bomber raids severely damaged the airfields.

The area served as a command and control hub for a substantial operational unit that flew combat missions with fighters and heavy bombers after the Americans took control. Three huge military airfields—Hollonia, Sentani, and Cyclops Airfields—made up the American facilities.

Hollandia Airfield was left unoccupied at the end of the war, and up until the early 2010s, natural overgrowth had taken control of it. This region’s most recent aerial photos show a sizable housing development project under construction on the property.

The Japanese originally constructed Cyclops Airfield, a single runway facility to the northeast of Sentani Airfield, but it also abandoned and is now a part of the Sentani town. Because it served as MacArthur’s headquarters at Hollandia, this field is noteworthy. The only area of the complex remaining in operation as an airstrip is Sentani Airfield. It serves as the main entryway into the portion of the island of Papua occupied by Indonesia.

The Etymology of Dortheys Hiyo Eluay

Dortheys Hiyo Eluay (November 3, 1937 – November 10, 2001) is the former chairman of The Presidium of the Papuan Council (PDP). The former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid established as a manifestation of the special autonomy status to the province of Papua.

Eluay was at a secondary elementary school (Jongensvervolgschool) in Yoka during the Dutch colonial period. He studied meteorology. Then worked as an assistant meteorologist at the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency of the Dutch East Indies government. His family is the traditional head (Ondoafi) in Kampung Sereh. Eluay himself later became an Ondoafi thanks to his relatively high education.

In 1962, Indonesia took over the territory of Papua from the Netherlands. They assisted the Indonesian military and police in finding anti-Indonesian Papuans. It causes many casualties in the Sentani area. In 1969, Theys was one of the few Papuans selected to participate in the UN-supervised PEPERA (“Setting the People’s Opinion”). The UN which ultimately unanimously voted for Papua’s integration into Indonesia.

Jayapura Sentani Airport Changes the Name of Dortheys Hiyo Eluay

History of Sentani Airport in Jayapura Regency, Papua, changed its name to Dortheys Hiyo Eluay Airport through a Special Regional Regulation (Perdasus) in the plenary meeting of the Jayapura DPRD.

According to Ondofolo Kampung Sereh, Sentani, and Yanto Eluay, the decision to change the name was made in the Jayapura DPRD non-APBD plenary session expressly for the determination of 12 Perdasus.

“In the next stage, the Ministry of Transportation will change the name administratively,” said Yanto Eluay at Sentani City Park Saturday (7/11).

Moreover, Theys Hiyo Eluay’s son hopes the ratification of the airport name change, will be no more discordant voices against it.

“If the name has decided upon in a plenary session after several phases, it already has permanent legal effect,” he said.

According to Yanto, the airport is a part of Kampung Sereh’s traditional land. And the area around it belongs to the late Theys Hiyo Eluay.

The Regent of Jayapura, Mathius Awoitauw, and Theys Hiyo Eluay are figures for Papuans who defend the rights of indigenous peoples, especially the Sentani people.

“The late (Theys) was a human rights leader. He always defended the rights of indigenous Papuans. The late Theys had a big vision for indigenous peoples. How can indigenous peoples enter into a modernization and transform into a better direction to meet the future,” Mathius said.

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