Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry has approved plans for Marinda Airport in Raja Ampat to become an international airport. The developments are set to shorten travel times and ease the logistical issues which have long been associated with one of Indonesia’s most popular, yet remote destinations.
The first flight schedules are already underway, with both Sriwijaya Air and NAM Air opening routes from Marinda Airport on 21st October 2017. The airlines will also improve connectivity to Raja Ampat from major hubs throughout Indonesia, such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Semarang and Makassar.
The news represents the culmination of a process that began in 2015 when West Papua’s governor first met with Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi to propose a runway extension. In the initial meeting, Raja Ampat Regent Abdul Faris Umlati unveiled plans to extend the airport’s runway from 1,200 metres to 2,500 metres in order to facilitate larger planes landing at Marinda.
Marinda airport currently operates from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., serving Susi Air and Wings Air airlines. As the first airline to fly to Raja Ampat, Susi Air uses a Cessna Grand Caravan. Susi Air has increased its flight frequency, currently offering several flights to Raja Ampat every week. Wings Air has also been serving the Raja Ampat route since January 2017, operating an ATR 72-600 aircraft, which travels to Manado – Raja Ampat – Sorong – Monokwari on a daily basis.
In addition to air travel, tourists can also travel by sea to Raja Ampat, departing from Sorong and using a speedboat, which takes around two hours.