West Papua is growing each day. One of the proofs of its growth is the increasing number of the airport. As it is located in the very strategic part of the Bird’s Head Peninsula, Domine Eduard Osok is definitely one of the largest and one of the busiest. This article will describe the unique and interesting facts behind it.
A gateway of West Papua
Many airports in the province only serve local flights for various reasons, such as lack of facilities, small runways, and undeveloped constructions. Only some serve national flights from other big cities in Indonesia, and Domine Eduard Osok is one of them. It means that this airport is a gateway to West Papua from other regions in Indonesia.
Used to be an entry point to Raja Ampat
Since Raja Ampat became famous and attracted thousands of visitors each month, closer and reachable airport requirements have been inevitable. Domine Eduard Osok used to be the main entry point of Raja Ampat. The city of Sorong is the closest to the island compared to Manokwari as the capital.
Thus, Raja Ampat visitors land in this airport to reach their destination. However, this method was still considered ineffective. Marinda Airport was built in Raja Ampat Island, and this airport no longer serves as an entry point.
One of the busiest and largest airport
The Bird’s Head Peninsula is geographically strategic since it is located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It makes this airport of West Papua one of the busiest and the largest. Domine Eduard Osok is expected to have a 3.3% average annual growth. The aircraft movement, passenger, and cargo are all experiencing positive growth constantly since 2014.
It helps to boost the country’s growth
Domine Eduard Osok Airport of West Papua is expected to boost economic development in Eastern Indonesia. Many improvements have been made for the airport, funded by the Indonesian government through the Ministry of Transportation.
Among many planned future improvements for the airport are the instrument landing system (ILS) optimization, billing data system (BDS), and billing cash system (BCS), as well as the air traffic control tower, which was damaged due to an earthquake.
The meaning behind its architectural design
The exterior of Domine Eduard Osok in West Papua shows its local wisdom. The shape resembles betel nut or areca nut, the seed of areca palms that grows well in tropical Pacific areas, including this region. The exterior and the airport interior are also equipped with many facilities to give comfort to the passengers.
Named after a religious figure
There is a certain reason behind the name of the airport. Domine Eduard Osok was a very respected figure in Sorong. He was known for doing a lot of missionary work in the city and spreading Christianity in Sorong and its surrounding. Domine Eduard Osok was a native of the city and worked as a pastor during his life.
Replacing the Jefman Airport
Domine Eduard Osok Airport in West Papua was initially built to support Jefman Airport, which was used to be the main airport of Sorong. But the latter had become overcapacity and could not be expanded because there was not enough land.
With only one small and single runway, the airport could not accommodate big airplanes. Moreover, passengers needed to travel by boat to reach the airport, making it inefficient. The government decided to build a new airport. Once the construction was finished in 2004, Jefman Airport eventually closed permanently.