Werur Airport in Tabrauw, West Papua. (Screengrab from YouTube/Raja Video Id)

Disused WW2 Airfield in West Papua Now Ready for Commercial Flights


FEBRUARY 15, 2018

Jakarta. Werur Airport in Tambrauw, West Papua — formerly a disused World War II airfield — has opened again for business after six years of redevelopment, Indonesia's Transportation Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday (14/02).

The airport, now with a 1,400-meter runway, used to be a military airfield for both the Japanese and the Allies during World War II.

The government had been planning to develop the airfield into a commercial airport since 2012, but construction work only began in 2015 after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo started his initiative to improve access to Indonesia's underdeveloped regions.

"Werur Airport's reopening is part of an effort to realize President Jokowi's Nawacita [nine-prong development principle]. One of the principles is that the government has to be willing to develop border areas in Indonesia," the ministry said.

"Tabrauw is right on the coast, a very strategic location. No wonder the Japanese and the Allies built the air base there during World War II," the ministry's air transport director Maria Murni said in the statement.

"The airport should help the local economy by bringing in more tourists," she said.

According to the ministry, the airport will also help reduce logistics cost to bring goods in and out of the area. Exorbitant logistics cost is the bane of many underdeveloped regions in Indonesia.

The airport at the moment is only used by Susi Air, an airline owned by Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, with two flights from Sorong to Werur every week on Monday and Friday.

The Transportation Ministry said the airport's runway and passenger terminal will be extended again later in 2018.